Renegade Birthday Giveaway: Pick Jonathan’s Brain

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Exactly one year ago today, my book Career Renegade hit the street…

It’s been a dizzying, exhilarating, fun ride. I’ve talked about what unfolded, how it sold, what my expectations were and what I’ve learned. And, I’ve also discovered that birthday’s are best celebrated by giving instead of receiving. So, I wanted to do something really special to celebrate with all of you. To give back.

My normal consulting/mentoring fees are, well…a lot. But, for a short time…I’m yours for…nothing…nada…zip!!!

It’s my Renegade birthday present to you. Here’s my offer –

In the comments below, through the end of the day on Friday (and, maybe longer, who knows, lol), I will:

  • Create slogans, names, headlines and hooks
  • Answer your small biz, start-up, entrepreneurship, publishing, platform-building and marketing questions,
  • Brainstorm business, product and service ideas & solve problems,
  • Help you figure out how to make money doing silly things
  • Give my input on book ideas, names and book marketing ideas
  • Reveal the secret to hot chocolate and world peace (hint, the first is the answer)
  • Whatever else I can fit in that’ll help you become more successful.

All you need to do is…ASK & PASS:

  • Ask your question in the comments below (in detail, include links if you like), and
  • Pass this offer around (on twitter, Facebook…wherever),

I want to help as any people as possible by the end of the day on Friday, no strings attached.

Okay, and awaaaay we go…

UPDATE: Well, it’s 6:13pm on Friday night and after an amazing 2 days and well over 200 comments, the birthday consulting giveaway has come to a close. Thanks so much to all who shared their wonderful questions. You guys seriously rock my world!

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226 responses

226 responses to “Renegade Birthday Giveaway: Pick Jonathan’s Brain”

  1. Happy birthday, O Life Traveler!

    I have a big strategy question for ya. I’m on track to finish and release several info products around business blogging this year, including an automated coaching program.

    What’s my next “big league” step, from where you’re standing?

    Thanks so much for your generosity!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Michael – First, I love seeing how your brand and your business has grown since we first met almost 2 years ago. You’re doing so many things right. You audience is clear and I think your value proposition is pretty clear, too. My big question back at you is “what do you want to build?” Not on a product by product basis, but on a “story” basis. Five years from now, what’s the story you want people telling about your rise? That’s the question, but the answer’s gotta come from you. And, once it does, your next moves will be the easy part.

      • Thanks, man. I never would have put it in those terms for myself, so that is extraordinarily valuable and eye-opening to me. I’ve printed it out and put it up on my vision board to ponder and plan. 🙂

        Happy birthday again!

  2. Jonathan, since you have been a guest on my show twice and do a lot of media stuff on both sides you asking the questions and you as the guest. I would love feedback for my show. What could make it better?



    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Koren – And, I’ve really enjoyed being on your show both times, in large part, because it’s a long format and you don’t just putz around with sound bites. I love that you ask real questions that go deeper. I think something to think about as you move forward is – “what’s the coherent story you’re trying to tell through your show and interviews?” Also, what do you want to be known for? How is the experience you’re offering different than anyone else? What are you doing or can you do that will so consistently blow people away they’ll run screaming to tell their friends they have to tune in to every show. What you’re doing now is enjoyable, but the big question you have to ask is whether it’s umissable? And, if not, why?

      • Thanks for the feedback. Those are great questions. I need to ponder those. Feeling a little stuck right now like I need to figure out the “right” answer. But is it that I ask myself those questions and answer them, while trying stuff out to see what sticks?

  3. Jerret says:

    Congrats and thanks for giving back!

    Here’s my question. I have an idea for a blog. I’m wondering how best to “launch” it.

    Do I start hammering away on content or do I build the content outside the blog and then do a launch (where the blog already has a decent amount of content in place).

    Congrats and thanks again!


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Jerret – I would definitely launch it with a solid chunk of your best content already written and in place (10-30 posts), even if you know a lot of people won’t see it right away. Then, I’d go one step further and create some flagship content with extraordinarily high value, like an ebook or 3-10 part series that will generate buzz and pass around value

  4. Chris says:

    I’m interested in finding a fresh angle to cover extended world travel…and hopefully monetize whatever web presence is there to document the process.

    Any insight is appreciated.

    Happy b-day 🙂

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Chris – I’m not a huge traveler, so I can’t speak from personal experience. But here’s what I’d suggest, start by asking yourself, “what type of information, coverage, spin would I genuinely value that I’m having trouble finding?” From there, you need to them broaden out and do some online research to try to determine if there are enough others with a similar hunger who’ll in some way pay for the type of information, solution or experience you’d like to deliver

    • Helen says:

      I have a suggestion – sights, smells, sounds – for fiction writers. The closeup textures and real sensory information. Writers can’t all afford research trips. We want to know just exactly how the sand on that Californian beach feels, or exactly the smell of the street in Venice. How long does it take to walk from the fabulous hotel to the seedy backstreet? I don’t want poetry – I want granular, precise detail.

  5. Kasey LaRose says:

    I am about to launch a website that is both for spa consumers and dealers. I am gearing the blog and forum more toward dealers and business, do I need to have a separate blog and forum just for consumers. The dealer services are where the money is, but I am afraid it may be difficult to provide content for two blogs from the get go. Please advise.

    Love the book by the way! IT was about a year ago on my birthday that I read your book and decided to start this adventure (which has taken too long to begin).


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Kasey – Two different audiences, needs and solutions. One is a business that needs to make money, the other is a person who needs with more lifestyle/pampering needs. I’d keep them separate.

      • Kasey LaRose says:

        Thanks Jonathan! As I was writing my question, the answer seemed pretty obvious, so I guess I was just looking for some validation. I am just hoping that I can produce enough valuable content for both audiences from the get go. I have the pre-launch jitters and am doing my best to make everything work out for my path to Career Renagadism!

  6. Cathy Toll says:

    My clients are educators. About 80% of them give me a blank look when I mention Twitter and ning, and roll their eyes about blogs and Facebook. How do I thrive in social media when my field has many late adopters?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Cathy – Go where your market lives and breaths. If 80% don’t play on twitter and you want to reach out to them, then you need to go where they DO play. Just because you’ve caught the twitter/SM bug, doesn’t mean you need to convert them to your preferred mode of communication for them to become clients. Respect how they want to be reached out and where they want to be reached out to. But, at the same time, keep up your social media efforts, you may well end up positioning yourself on the cutting edge of community building, so when they do start to come around, you’ll be well positioned to be the go-to person.

  7. Clare says:

    Congrats on your success! I always admire people like yourself who’ve been able to change fields and careers –

    can you share any advice/thoughts on how one can know whether one is just experiencing a temporary motivation/situational issue or whether it’s time to act on the other creative impulses/ideas one has and make a (big) switch?

    In other words, how do you know when quitting X is just quitting too early, vs. when “quitting” is the right thing to do for doing something better/different in its place?

    I read Seth Godin’s “The Dip”, and I get his distinction between the two dips, but I just don’t know how to tell the difference in practice. Maybe one shouldn’t “quit” the track one’s on at least until one has another built up, or unless the alternative starts to become more compelling than the current?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Clare – I think you hit on it with your last sentence. Most of the people I’ve interviewed who’ve made major career changes into paths that require a fair amount of ingenuity and/or ramp-up time have done so not by jumping, but by slowly building that second path on the side until it begins to take on enough momentum to answer a lot of the questions yo just asked for you. The Dip Seth talks about is more about acknowledging when something you’ve started is either showing that it didn’t have the legs you thought it had (usually because your initial assumptions were off) or you realize you’re not really nearly as passionate as you thought you were about the path you’ve chosen.

  8. Sherrie says:

    I’m building a platform (or trying to – ahem) to support a nonfiction book proposal on chronic pain. I’d like to implement a coaching and (here’s the problem area) speaking strategy along with this. Here’s the befuddlement: do I take the “self-help”/how to deal with chronic pain approach? The “here’s what’s wrong with how we treat CP in the US”/serious approach? The motivational/entertainment approach? Which one works best for this topic?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Sherrie – Interesting question. The answer lies in understanding where the biggest pain points lie in that market AND what makes your solution/approach profoundly different/better than what out in the market right now. It’s not enough to be just another good option. Be better, be different and make a beeline to a highly specific source of pain and solve it better than anyone. Once you hone in on that, the “hook” should become much more self-evident. Start with the solution, then build the hook around it.

      • Sherrie says:

        Fabulous, thoughtful answer. Thank you, Jonathan, and here’s wishing you many more happy birthdays to come! Namaste.

  9. Lindsey says:

    I’m trying to gear up the courage to leave the finance world to write full time … your story, of course, is deeply inspirational to me. I guess my question is general, and probably very hard to answer, but I’m looking for help parsing the difference between caution and cowardice. I’ve had people support me and read and say I should, but it doesn’t feel “real” without a contract. Does that make sense, or am I using it as a crutch? I’ve had both responses, and I can’t tell anymore what I think.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Lindsey – Couple of thoughts. One, do you really have to leave to write? You may want to, but do you HAVE to? If not, why not set a goal of writing on the side and building that next leg slowly over time. And, depending on what you want to write, why not blog and start to build an audience for your writing. It’ll give you a chance to practice daily, get feedback on your writing (is it hitting notes or not) and build a platform that would give you the type of leverage, experience and body of work needed to more easily make the jump down the road. It’ll also give you a better feel for whether you really want to do it and how you handle others seeing, reading and potentially judging your work.

      • Lindsey says:

        I do blog – have for 3.5 years – that’s where I’m getting the feedback that I should write “for real” and learning that it’s something I truly love … Thanks for your response!!

  10. Joe Jacobi says:

    Since the U.S. Olympic Committee just hired a new CEO last week, what advice would you give the man leading the U.S. Olympic back towards better days ahead? (By the way, just a hunch but a few Olympic sport executives might be listening too 🙂

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Joe – Seriously, you want little old me to give advice to the first-ever US whitewater canoe gold medalist? LOL! Oh, wait a minute, just realized it’s for your successor. I can’t judge from personal experience, but I’d be surprised if the organization doesn’t suffer from a lot of the politics that tend to plague similar groups. Politics kill. They kill progress, they kill ideas, they kill hope. So, to the extent the new person can make and stick to a deliberate choice to lead through authenticity, transparency and value and not posturing or politics, I’d make that a focus. To that end, I’d recommend reading Pat Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

  11. Jonathan,

    I talk to a lot of big-firm lawyers who are miserable and want to do something different.

    However, between law school and big-firm culture (as you know) they often aren’t good at thinking of business models that don’t involve selling their time at hourly rates.

    In addition to sending them your book (which I always do), any resources you would recommend to get them started thinking bigger about biz models related to their expertise?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Man, I know that struggle on a very personal level. Two thoughts. One, ask what it is that’s making them want to leave. No doubt, one of the answers will be something that translates to burnout. Then, run with that and show them how, when they’re trading hours for dollars and ramping up a giant lifestyle around it, the only way to keep up is with more hours. And, even if they enjoyed it to start, that becomes a crushing burden.

      Step two – lawyers love evidence. Show a bunch of examples of how knowledge workers have started businesses, then been able to scale by commoditizing products or services, rather than pushing more hours. Use examples where, after the first few startup years, the entrepreneurs have even had to option to step back a bit. The year before I sold my yoga center in NYC, I was only working about 5-10 hours a week and making a very nice living.

  12. Teddy Herzog says:

    Jonathan, can you address a question about what it takes to “source” new material? I am in the personal growth field and slowly working on a book. I know for sure that I have my hands on some very unique material that just isn’t out in the public yet. I’ve got my hands on the “marble” but now I need to carve out that masterpiece sculpture.

    Admittedly, I have yet to construct a disciplined daily routine around writing the book. I am deeply into researching and studying material that will contribute to the book. And my efforts are scattered as of yet.

    My question is, likely, a book in and of itself…….”What does it take to put oneself into the place from where new, high-value material is created?”

    I am probably ready to start blogging consistently. Like you said to someone earlier, I need to build up an inventory of blogs before I go live. Maybe blogging is a disciplined routine that will get me on track.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Teddy – It sounds like blogging probably would be a good place for you to start. It’ll not only get you into the daily habit of writing, but also give you the chance to test your material, develop your voice and build a community in anticipation of the book

  13. Dear Jonathan,

    Wow, only a year? Your brand-growing skillz are mad, yo. 🙂

    We’re starting to get some great feedback at through consistent small efforts (updates, Twitter, forums etc), but I want to be bigger, bolder… ginormous and glorious and stunningly good.

    All the ideas I can think of are still so very small-time and low-risk. How big can I go… and how can I go big?

    Congrats again,

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Catherine – Just checked out the site, very fun. A great way to make a big splash is to create some kind of standalone content piece that’s provocative, insanely high value and is designed to get people talking about it and passing it around. My “Truth About Book Marketing” and “Fire Fly Manifesto” are two examples of that. The former actually literally launched a new business for me. So, I’d think about creating something like that, then seeding among your friends on twitter and on social media.

  14. Steve Wolfson says:

    Ok, first great book and blog!

    I guess my biggest question is I’ve done “consulting” and/or “contracting” before, in a high tech area of setting up companies tools and software to monitor their networks and servers.

    But serial contracting is the worst of both worlds (pay is pretty good though) no benefits/security but they still want you to stick on site. Any ideas on how to convince managers to permit more remote work so I can have multiple clients and truly make it more consulting.

    There is this thing about having a “body” there. Of course maybe I need a way to twist what I do to a different service or concept.


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Steve – It’s amazing how stuck in the “gotta have a body on the floor” so many businesses are. For some, it’s a real need, but increasingly, unless it’s a retail operation, not so much. I’d do a bit of legwork online and see if you can find some research, case studies that show how productivity rises and costs actually decrease when employees or contractors are permitted to work remotely. Step two, consider having a conversation that essentially says, “In order to keep up with demand and still be able to deliver the best possible experience for your clients, you’re transitioning your business to a remote format. Demonstrate how every major task you handle for a client now can get done with equal efficiency (and maybe more), how you’ll no longer be taking up the cost of office space and how you’ll still be accessible during those same hourse by phone, IM and email if need be.

      If there’s still hesitance, offer a test run. Tell them you’ll work remotely for the next 2 weeks and then you’ll revisit the change after that if it becomes necessary. Then, and this is the most important part, work your ass off to make sure those 2 weeks are the best weeks you’ve ever given them. Cool?

      • Steve Wolfson says:

        Hmm Yes cool!, also on thinking about it another way, assuming I feel comfortable with my own proposals and project management was maybe do fixed bid (obviously being careful to prevent scope creep) and the other someone suggested a “retainer” style monthly offering so that they can do small projects and one offs again at a fixed price and know someone is there when they get into a little hot water.
        Or is this opening the door to trouble?

        Thanks again!

  15. Lise says:

    Thanks Jonathan!
    How do I move from a job/career I’ve been doing forever (+20 years) in medical admin/secretarial to finding something thrilling, I’m passionate about and want to do. I feel like there’s a brick wall (fear) holding me back. I know what I love doing but putting that into some career….well I’m a little dazzled by it all, would love your thoughts!
    Cheers & thanks
    Lise :^)

  16. Hi Jonathan,

    You and your business are such an inspiration to me! Thanks for being a trailblazer for the rest of us. I am actually transitioning into your line of work. I am a career coach and about to relaunch my site to be specific towards career changes for thirtysomethings.

    My question for you is how do I get people to attend classes that I am hosting? For example, I am hosting a career boot camp course ( the end of this month. It is $47 and 4 hours long and I have only had 5 people sign up. I have sent it to my 600+ newsletter list a few times and posted it a few places. I would have loved 20 people or more. How do you recommend marketing classes like this OR do you think the day of in person classes are over and I should focus on teleseminars or e-courses?

    Happy Birthday! Thanks again!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Suzannah – Tried to click on your link to learn more, but it was a bad link. Free free to add in the right one after this if you like.

      Short answer, no live events are most definitely not dead. I just ran one in NYC in November and will be rolling out more this year. That said, that are often a tougher sell simply because of the need to travel. So, your list may be 600 strong, but the bigger question is how many of those people are within a 1 hour drive? That’s the real part of the list who would be prospects for a $47 live event. So, maybe only 10% are local and if you’ve got 5 or 6 signed up, that’s a 10% response rate form the people who are truly qualified. And, that’s actually pretty good.

      Interesting enough, if you expanded the event and charged $497 instead of $47 and, of course, delivered massive value to justify the price, the dramatic increase in perceived value would likely lead more people to travel further and remove a lot of the geographic restriction. Something to play with for the future.

      But, for your current event, I would start to go very local and get guerilla, ie, neighborhood marketing. I’d also do a test with pay per click ads on both google and Facebook and tightly geo-target them. And, ask who are the people and businesses who’ve already collected your desired clients and go to them to see if you can incentivize them to help promote for you.

  17. Ken says:

    We’ve taken what started as an informal one-man operation selling and sometimes renting Stand-Up Paddleboards into its first steps of a partnership to grow the sales into boards and accessories via a store-front and extend rentals down at the waterfront to tourists. Coming from the tech industry, I credit diving into this in part to reading your book and becoming inspired to try something different so thank you for the poke!

    We see the rental aspect as being a big element of our future success as there are only so many people in East Hawaii that are going to buy Paddle Boards. The other part will be online sales. We’re on Trip Advisor and Yelp and have just started to get going on Twitter. Still working on getting the web site going but it’s already starting to get us calls. Right now we’re getting about 20-30 visits a day and I want to see that grow and convert more of those visits into sales and rentals. We’re working on our inventory sourcing right now so we don’t have much in the store yet. Once we do we plan to get an online store going.

    I think what I’m looking for are pointers on how to attack the tourism marketplace and get the word out that we are here.

    ps. Footer says the comments for this post will close 13 Jan but sounded like you wanted to keep comments open at least to Friday. 🙂

    • Ken says:

      Doh! Nevermind on the PS… Just noticed that the date is 2011! LOL.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Ken – There’s a ton you can do online for the retail part of the business, a lot probably involves doing some SEO work to get your site to come up on the first page in the search engines. But, let’s focus in on the local part of your business – rentals to tourists.

      This sounds like the perfect type of service for a classic concierge play. I’ve done this with restaurants in NYC. Basically, you make a list of every hotel, inn, B&B that’s close enough to refer people to you. You then visit each one and talk to the owner if it’s a small place or the concierge if its a bigger place. BUT, before you go, figure out what type of incentive you might be able to give these kind folks for referring their guests to you. Very often, it’s money, maybe gift cards, yadda, yadda, you get the idea.

      Point is, it’s way easier to reach out to and make a small number of referral sources love you than it is to have to constantly reach out to a large volume of people who are only around for a short time.

  18. Congratulations, my friend!

    I’m trying to get back out of the office and into the ol’ home office. I was a freelance copywriter for 2 years, but I put all my eggs in the wrong basket (long-term client wound up being a bad choice). Now that this well has dried up, what do you suggest as being a good way to start drumming up clients again? I’ve been doing the Elance thing with minimal results. Thanks again – this is a wonderful idea and I hope it brings you even more coverage and attention, you do fine work!


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Tom – Okay, so at least we don’t have to have the old eggs in one basket talk, lol.

      I’d actually pick a specific sub niche for copywriting (if you are cool focusing in like that), then start a blog that talks a bit about the specific content area (partly for SEO purposes), and a whole lot about writing copy for that market. Like a post on headlines for the market. Or do critiques of ads, copy, marketing strategies in that market. Point is give away a ton of how to information in your content. Some people will run with it themselves, others will realize how valuable (and hard) it really is and end up wanting you to do instead of them. And, if you want to be more aggressive, them I’d blend in some PPC advertising as well. Oh, and make sure your blog has some kind of testimonial page if you have the tesitmonials

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Tom – Also, I’d do 2 other things.

      One, I’d see if you can find, then connect with marketing people in the niche you’d like to write for across social media, develop relationships, offer genuine help even if nothing comes of it and see what unfolds.

      Two, I’d tap your copywriting skills to promote your own business. Jump into the industry trades or SRDS (Standard Rate & Data Service) to find the 50-100 companies you’d like to write for in your niche, then create a very compelling direct mail package that offered them a complimentary whitepaper on Major marketing & copywriting missteps made in their industry. If you can even critique various ads and communications pieces as part of that, have at it. Then, at the very end, include a call to action to arrange a review of their current copy, ads and campaigns.

      So, it’s a 3 step process. Send a package, have them provide contact info to get a whitepaper, then upsell a review at the end of the whitepaper. And, if they don’t respond, continue to offer more value on a periodic basis by email.

  19. Ben B says:

    Congrats on the anniversary! I just recently came across your material and think I’ll be picking up your book in the near future. Two questions:

    1. Thoughts on the viability of creating a free web-based information portal/community designed to solve a specific need for a very specific group of people which I feel is currently poorly serviced?

    Site information would be primarily user generated. Site maintenance would hopefully be minimal after initial setup, but design would be dynamic based on user feedback.

    Marketing costs would be minimal due to the target groups familiarity with social media and many other available outlets.

    Income generation would eventually be developed in the form of add revenue from highly relevant, user known businesses (i.e. no random Google Adsense clutter) once a demonstrable user base has been established. Possibly a premium membership option somewhere down the road if the community demand could be generated.

    If successful, the opportunity would exist to replicate the model into numerous other very similar target markets.

    2. What is your secret to hot chocolate? 🙂

    Thanks for taking your valuable time to share the insights!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Ben – What you’ve just laid out is basically one widely used general model for building a niche blog and monetizing it. It can work, but it will depend largely on the quality of your content, how well defined and hungry your niche is and how provocative your voice and solutions are.

      One thing I would caution about is building a model with ad-revenue as the monetization centerpiece. I can work, but, like you were alluding to, very often, creating paid solutions to your community’s problems then offering them to your community after you’ve spent time showing them you know what you’re talking about works better.

  20. Jonathan-
    What a generous offer!
    I’m like Catherine. I am ready to go big, but I’m not 100% sure what to do next. Would you take a look at my site and give me a little feedback?
    Have a Very Happy Birthday!

  21. patrick says:

    Hey Jonathan

    Congratulations on your book.

    I’m a piano teacher in California. in two or three years I will be moving out of my local area to finish my college degree. I was wondering what advice you would give to somebody who is looking for ways to find students. Currently, I work with a studio who does enough marketing to keep my schedule happily full, but when I move I’m not sure if that will be an option. I’ve tried craigslist before, but that didn’t pull up anything. Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      patrick – A few thoughts….

      Offer to write a series of articles for the local paper on why music is critically important for kids, how it impacts school performance, comprehension, cognitive function and creativity and can lead to better grades. If you want, you can even ask if they’d give you some display advertising space instead of payment.

      Rent a room in the local library or community center and turn that same content into a presentation and advertise it all over town.

      Find out if any of the local schools have newsletters that accept articles and/or advertising.

      Publish a website/blog and include this content, along with other high value content. And, if you like test out a geo-targeted pay per click campaign on google, bing and Facebook.

      Look for local organizations where moms congregate and offer to share similar presentations and answer questions.

      Point being, the more you can LEAD with really great free value, the easier it will be to create buzz, then mine that buzz for sales

      And, if you’ve got the bucks, you can always repurpose some of this content into direct mail.

  22. Charlotte says:

    Hi Jonathan!

    Happy birthday! This is so kind and generous of you, giving consulting time away like this. Many happy returns to you.

    I have two projects going now (inspirIT and Fictionette) but I’m rather afraid to commit fully to either one.

    To inspirIT because while I do like computers and helping people (and there’s the potential to make good money), IT stuff is not really that fulfilling to me. I started the company for the wrong reasons. Right thing (entrepreneurship), wrong reason (scared of not making $).

    To Fictionette because… well, I’m almost too invested. I want it almost… too badly. And yet I’m pretty terrified there’s no money in it, etc.

    I’m not asking “which one should I commit to” because I already know that.

    My question is “What’s the next action step I should take to really make Fictionette into something huge and hugely useful (and, ok, profitable) so that I can let go of what’s not working for me and turn it over to my partners.”

    RTed on Twitter. If there’s any other opportunity to pay it forward I will do that as well.

    All the best,

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Charlotte – I need some more info. What IS fictionette? Do you have a website for me to look at? Who are you serving and, most importantly, WHAT IS THE MAD HUNGER YOU ARE SATISFYING?

      If you don’t know, ya gotta do the research to find out. And, if you can’t find a deep pain or hunger, that may be a sign that there either isn’t a market or you need to approach it differently.

      Always remember, in business, it’s not just about following your passion, it’s about finding the intersection between what you’re passionate about and what people want desperately and are willing to pay for.

      • Charlotte says:

        It’s linked to my name above, or go to

        I’m serving new fiction writers. Mostly women. Mostly . (Others can come along for the ride, but the core group is women who are just beginning to put their stuff down on paper, have some doubts, and need help.

        SO many websites, books, etc talk about how to improve your writing or what to do with it after you’re finished (agents, selling books, etc), but I’ve not seen any websites specifically geared towards the writer’s mental game. Towards lowering their inhibitions and silencing their inner critic so that they can get stuff down. And towards a community of writers who are all working towards a better relationship with themselves and their art.

        The _community_ thing is really where I think the mad desire is.

        So far, the response has been really positive. I’m just not quite sure what to do with it.

        Helpful at all?


  23. Jonathan, it’s a breath of fresh air that you’re celebrating your “birthday” by giving back to us. I’ve been reading your work for several months and it’s one of the few blogs that I consider a must-read whenever a new post goes up!

    Recently, I’ve ventured into this blogging / social media / marketing space in the attempt to differentiate myself by leveraging my expertise in comedy writing & performance. You can take a quick peek at Not A Pro Blog to get the gist of it.

    Now, I’m obviously positioned to go the whole cookie-cutter eBook and consulting route (on humor-based marketing) as well as hired as entertainment for conferences/events… but what would you believe to be the most effective “end game” strategy for this to be?

    I’m concerned that my progressive approach may not be “corporate” enough, so that may significantly limit the amount of opportunities that could be open to me down the line. Yeah, I know the typical “be yourself” type of advice… but that only takes you so far. Eventually, you’ll be playing the game in someone else’s ballpark and have to stay within the boundaries at least somewhat.

    Lastly, any ideas on a good name for a book about using humor to market yourself and make your blog stand out? “Be Funny, Make Money” is an obvious one, but to me sounds ridiculously cheesy & sales-pitchy. 🙂

    From one fellow New Yorker to another… once again, thanks for this opportunity, Jonathan!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Jordan – Interesting question. One of the things you’re likely to butt up against is the wisdom that, when it comes down to it, comedy very often sells the comedian, but not the product. Put another way, it commands attention, but it’s highly subjective and often ends up alienating as many people as it sells. Especially the best comedy because it tends to be fairly polarizing. And, I’ve gotta admit, as somebody who is relatively snarky, I dial back by comedic side a lot when I write.

      If you happen to find clients where your brand of comedy and personality really resonates, have at it, but you’re right, it may end limiting your potential market in a fairly substantial way.

      So, a suggestion may be to shift the emphasis a bit and focus more on the power of having a strong, well-defined, opinionated voice in marketing. Just something to think about.

      As for the big question, scan up to the questions I asked Michael Martine (Remarkablogger), they’re pretty relevant to you as well

  24. Don Power says:

    Im about to start a daddy blog where I’ll have no shortage of content to write about (product reviews, how-to’s, practical recipes etc. etc.).

    1. What’s your top of mind thoughts about how to monetize this?

    2. How do I go from a broad appeal to dads to something more focused – or do I just go for the broad traffic of folks interested in daddy blogs? (ie: do I try to rank on “daddy blogs” or do I try to rank on the specific products I’m review/affiliated with?)

    Thanks in advance!

    – Don

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Don – A few thoughts on your 2 questions…

      1. What’s your top of mind thoughts about how to monetize this?

      Daddy blogs tend to have substantially less traffic than the top mommy blogs (at least the ones I’m aware of), making monetization purely through ads a less than stellar option. So, I would probably focus more on (a) specific sponsorship, but that won’t come until you have a bit of traffic, and (2) affiliate relationships, likely driven by reviews.

      2. How do I go from a broad appeal to dads to something more focused – or do I just go for the broad traffic of folks interested in daddy blogs? (ie: do I try to rank on “daddy blogs” or do I try to rank on the specific products I’m review/affiliated with?)

      Question is “do you need to?” Do some keyword research using googles public keyword tool before you decide to go super-narrow. And, truth is, it’ll likely flow from how you decide to play question 1. Focus in on what problem you are solving, identify the market, then build around them.

  25. Wow so many questions are running through my mind. I guess I would start with this: I am in the middle of writing up a business plan for a business that has never been done before. I am having trouble forecasting the financials and am not sure where to turn. I thought of googling an example but as mentioned previously this has not been done before.

    Next question: I have been advised to get an advisory board in order to help get this thing up and running with various things like consultants, lawyers, CFO’s etc. How does one do that on a zero budget or does that wait until after funds come in?

    Third question: I am a single mother, full time MA student and need an alternate source of earning income until I graduate and can set up my own practice. Any thoughts?

    I am sure more will come. Thank you for this beautiful gift and I hope that this year brings everything your heart could desire: success but mostly complete satisfaction and joy in everything you do. Happy Birthday!!!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Kristie – Thoughts…

      “I am having trouble forecasting the financials and am not sure where to turn. I thought of googling an example but as mentioned previously this has not been done before.”

      This is a tough one, no easy answers, generally try looking at comparable/similar industries and see if you can find numbers that may be relevant. If not, looks for industry experts. Beyond that, you’ve gotta rely on your own experience and intuition. That’s the scary side of launching what we call a blue ocean business, one where you literally are creating a new solution and of defining the market yourself.

      “Next question: I have been advised to get an advisory board in order to help get this thing up and running with various things like consultants, lawyers, CFO’s etc. How does one do that on a zero budget or does that wait until after funds come in?”

      It’s hard for me to answer this question without knowing a lot more about the industry, the business, the solution…and how you intend to fund it. Very often a small group of mentors can be very helpful in guiding your decision. Formal advisory boards often end up being more dog and pony shows to try to convince investors you’ve got smart people involved.

      “Third question: I am a single mother, full time MA student and need an alternate source of earning income until I graduate and can set up my own practice. Any thoughts?”

      Again, that’s a huge question, something I can’t really answer without knowing a lot more. 🙂

  26. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jonathan Fields, Liz Strauss, remarkablogger, Sherrie Sisk, Alexis Martin Neely and others. Alexis Martin Neely said: How fun! You should do this: RT @jonathanfields: Renegade Birthday Giveaway: Pick Jonathan’s Brain…for free! […]

  27. Jackie says:

    Thank you for doing this, and happy birthday 🙂

    I have an app for the iPhone (and soon to be for Android) called Pay Off Debt. I’m not yet sure what selling for Android will be like, but selling well on iTunes seems to require getting a lot of reviews within iTunes itself. Do you have suggestions as to how I could do that more easily?

    In order to leave a review, a person must have the app (which is $2.99, but I have a limited number of promo codes for each build too). Due to how the system works, I have no way of knowing who my customers actually are in order to ask for reviews. Do you have suggestions on this? I’d also appreciate suggestions on how to more easily get Facebook fans & readers, but that’s another matter.

    Thanks again.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Jackie – I’m fascinated by the app market, but don’t have a whole of experience in it…yet.

      But, if what you’re saying is right, that having a ton of fast great reviews is critical, why don’t you set aside a few hundred dollars to essentially give away “review copies” a/k/a, give people the money to buy the app on the promise that they’ll post an unbiased review. The only challenge with that, tho, is that they may need to disclose the fact that they recieved the app for free, so maybe that wouldn’t work quite as well.

      Hmmm, other idea, do a ton of high value commenting on high-traffic blogs where people who’d benefit from this app hang out. Maybe personal finance blogs. Add real value to the conversations, then link your name to a url that’s an info-page for the app.

      And, of course, the other option is to advertise or hire someone to market it for you. I also remember hearing about a company that was an app incubator. They help fund, market and get your app listed in exchange for a piece of the action. Can’t remember the name, but give it a google

      • Jackie says:

        Thanks for the suggestions! (Besides being useful ideas, they’ve gotten me thinking of additional ones too.)

  28. Monna says:

    Thanks for the lovely reverse birthday gift. I dig it!

    How can I improve my blog for readers who enjoy stories about expat life (stories from four continents) while building an audience for the book I plan to write?


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Monna – you pretty much said it. Improve your blog by improving your stories. Marketing is important, but content is still very much king.

      • Monna McD says:

        Thanks so much for your thoughts, Jonathan. I’ve been thinking about what you wrote all weekend. How could I not have seen that the secret is not a secret at all… just write thoughtful, crafted pieces about my adventures and stop worrying so much about the format. I’ve learned a great deal by reading other people’s questions and your responses; thanks for your enormous generosity with us.

  29. I am an independent, employee development trainer using my name as my brand. I love what I do but have found what I love even more!

    I’ve been teaching online photography classes and blogging photography tips, perspectives aimed at mom’s with cameras who want to capture their lives.

    I want to establish a strong brand for my photography focus separate from my training brand. How can I do this while still keeping it tied to my name? Or does my name matter? (ok, my name MATTERs ;))

    How do I move beyond the worries that so many of us are throwing their hats into the same pool?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Katrina – Okay, I’m going to be very direct, a quick look at your blog show me that there’s almost no traffic going there right now. Which is good and bad. Bad if you were wed to the business that it features (which it sounds like you’re not), and good if you want to walk away, because at least online, the blog’s not doing much for you right now.

      Why now start something that blends brands, like The person and the brand to really reverse engineer here is Darren Rowse (ProBlogger founder) in his secret alter ego as the founder behind a massively successful online photo education and review blog. Check it out at:

  30. Hi Jonathan, I think we’ve never talked before (although I’ve been following you for a while). I started a blog some time ago which is going well despite initial disadvantages (like english not being my primary language). I’d like to know in your opinion what the next step would be for growing it even more.

  31. emily says:

    Hi Jonathan!
    Really love what you have been doing (including your tweets!)
    Some questions to ask you, it’s bit vague but would like to know your thoughts on these:
    1. how do you motivate yourself constantly?
    2. how to achieve happiness and calmness?
    3. idea on part time job for a university student?
    thank you jon =)

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      emily –

      1. how do you motivate yourself constantly?

      When what you do aligns closely with what you love to do, that questions pretty much takes care of itself. So, focus more on finding out what makes you come alive

      2. how to achieve happiness and calmness?

      Oh man, could you ask me a bigger question, lol?! Though, here’s a standard I’ve used for major things in my life — seek out the opportunity to spend the greatest amount of time absorbed in activities and relationships that fill you up, while surrounded by people you can’t get enough of

      3. idea on part time job for a university student?

      Check out affiliate marketing. There are a lot of scams around it, but a good place to start is Lynn Terry’s blog at:

  32. Wow…generous offer Jonathan, and a very Happy Birthday to your book!

    I’m just about to launch my new website. I’m testing it with existing clients this week ready to launch it next week.
    I want the site and blog to let potential clients know how I can help them and let them get to know me enough to feel comfortable working with me.
    I’d love to get your feedback on it.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Pauline – Nice and clean. I’d move the about and blog nav items before the coaching on the top nav bar, so you do some credibility and trust building before you start to sell. And, create some really powerful flagship content to launch with

  33. patti digh says:

    Jonathan – Your spirit is contagious. My thanks for that. We need more contagion of this kind in the world. My question is this: I’ve written a book (Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally that has had astounding word-of-mouth success–I’ve gotten many thousands of emails from around the world that it has changed lives; I did a 40-city completely grassroots book tour (blog readers invited me and made that possible); it’s in its third printing; and 1.5 years after publication it is at around #500-900 on Amazon (surprisingly, at #10 on job hunting/careers though that’s not the primary focus) – without any marketing or pr campaign, just me, writing my blog,, and my blog readers. The book was fully illustrated by my blog readers–over 125 pieces of original art from around the world in a fantastic artistic barn-raising ( I can’t help but feel there’s a bigger audience for this work–that it could help many more people–but I don’t have a clue how to make that happen and it frustrates me. Are there any first steps you’d suggest?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Patti – First, congrats! Looks like you’ve built a wonderful brand that’s helping lots of people. There are a ton of directions you might go in to “go bigger,” but any of these resonate on a personal/soul level, they are the logical extensions to grow:

      – speaking,
      – running events and/or doing some kind of webinar, teleseminar,
      – membership site, info-produuct or expanded workbook that combines all the above
      – radio or TV

      It might be interesting to explore working with an “honest,” well connected celebrity agent (beyond your literary agent), who might be able to open some doors.

  34. Kate says:

    I have a young (very young) copywriting business, born of Recession 2009 layoffs.

    I am good, I know what I’m doing (mostly, sortof), I have *great* contacts and I really do think that if anyone can do this, it’s me. That said, we still live paycheck to paycheck. Work is steady, but the business is… wobbly. (Still learning to walk if we stick with the infant metaphor.)

    I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire working career and yet, god help me, I’m thinking about going back inside. A good, large, solid (if somewhat staid) company I know seems to have created a position with my name all over it. The salary will be significant enough and the position appears to be almost perfect for me.

    Deeply divided is a little too dramatic to describe what I’m feeling, but I am equally of two minds – equally divided. Thoughts?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey kate – Check out my thoughts on Tom “The Practical Nerd’s” comment above. Same basic advice

  35. Caroline says:

    Jonathan- Name for an environmental consulting company? I want to set something like this up and find a small-medium sized company to work for free for on my first project. Come up with short – long term ideas to implement that will reduce their waste and costs, and be able to use it as a marketing tool for them as well.
    Also, any key things I should consider when setting up a web presence since clients would be businesses rather than consumers.
    Thank you! I appreciate any help, and also for all the time you’ve dedicated to all the question’s so far!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Caroline – Sounds like great, conscious biz, just have to convince companies that doing the right thing will also be doing the profitable thing. That’s where I’d focus most of my communications/copy.

      As for names, tell me more about your customer avatar…

  36. Caroline says:

    Also, it says comments for the post will be closed Jan.14, 2011, you might want to change that so you aren’t answering questions for an entire year!

  37. mckra1g says:

    First: congratulations on pursuing your dreams and thank you for sharing your energy/insight with us.

    Second: I have two creative projects that have been percolating for a year, which I interpret as viable options that have lasting benefits, if implemented. They are recurring and not fleeting. Both are related to publishing.

    One of my three words for this year is “focus.” I want to figure out how to prioritize and focus so that at least one, if not both, may be realized by year’s end.

    The first project involves a patent and the educational world. I have a printing/sales/advertising background and a Rolodex that would choke a horse, in terms of distributing my idea once manifested in The Real. How do I take this project from theory to reality?

    The second project is complete fun and an expression of my creativity. I would like to publish a book and don’t know if it’s easier to self-publish and promote grassroots, or to find a publisher and go that route.

    I hope I’ve given you enough information; I don’t want to clog your stream w/minutiae. 🙂 Would be more than happy to expand upon any of my projects. Again, thanks so much for your time and energy today and every day! Best to you.


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      M –

      For a great discussion on going from invention/patentable idea to business and even licensing, check out the Renegade Profile interview I did with inventor, Stephen Key. He shares a ton of great insights on the process.

      It’s at:

      There’s also a mountain of great info in the other profiles

      For your book idea, it’s waaay easier to self-publish these days than it is to find an agent, then a publisher. And, it’s way faster, too. Not that I’m down on traditional publishing, but your question was which is “easier,” and you can self publish a book in the blink of an eye with sites like, or

      • mckra1g says:

        I’ve got a contact at Lightning Source! Thanks for the second opinion. It lends credence.

        Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.


  38. Patty Fair says:

    Love reading these. Looking for a great snappy name for an Equine aromatherapy business I’m working on….

    Thank you!


  39. Jeff L says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    First let me say that your blog ROCKS. I love what you have to say and how you say it and I’m blown away by what you’ve accomplished.

    I have an existing business that I love and is finally (after 10 years of pouring my heart and soul and money back into it) beginning to flourish.

    It’s ready to expand in a very specific direction but in order to do that I need to seek investors.

    From your experience, where should I seek capital first? Bank? VC? Making the business run beautifully and transform is something my team and I are great at, but I am not versed in finding investment.

    Would love to know your thoughts!


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Jeff – Thanks for the kind words! Tough questions, because the answers varies wildly based on the details of the business, the lifecycle of the business, what you want out of the business, your risk tolerance level, what it’s valued at and how much access to credit you have. I’d love to give you a simple answer, but for this one, without a lot more detail, it’s difficult for me to share any advice that would be intelligent.

  40. Leah says:

    Hi Johnathan,
    Happy Birthday and thanks for making such a generous offer.
    You Rock!
    I have been developing my brand for a while,and in the past few months things have started picking up significantly with peeps signing up for my list and all. I have a blog attached to my site too. I also have an online radio show. I am wondering the best way to monetize all of these things….especially the radio show. The shows fall into different categories and I sense that I could group them together and offer them as a download. I have so much content on my site, but most of it is free. It is time to start making some money from it. Any ideas that have you would be cool!
    You can find it all here:
    Rock On!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Leah – Your site and content seem like they’re really well positioned for some type of info-product that goes much deeper into what you talk about and aims to solve a problem that many of your readers have. Start out with an ebook and build from there.

  41. Happy Birthday, and thank you for this incredibly generous offer!

    I’ve got a really basic issue: I’m in the final planning stages of my business, and I know who I want to work with (small and micro-businesses that need help to grow effectively), but I’m not quite sure how to connect with them.

    I’m on twitter, and I’ve put together a metric ton of searches, hoping I could identify some small biz owners to follow so that I can start offering solutions where I can – but all I seem to get from those searches are spammy sales stuff.

    Any thoughts on the best way to reach out and engage my potential customers in the few months before my web site and biz launch?

    Thanks again – you rock!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Kathleen, A few thoughts on reaching out to small biz.

      One, you’ll have a lot more leverage once your site launches, because you can use it as a place to send people that can build credibility, demonstrate thought leadership, prove value and build a community. I’d spend a solid chunk of your time creating mindblowingly high value opening content for your website, at least one whitepaper/ebook or flagship instructional series. That can go a long way toward positioning you as an expert.

      Then, once the site is up, do all the standard traffic driving stuff, like leaving high value comments on big small biz blogs like SmallBizTrends and DuctTapeMarketing and more.

      The thing you CAN start doing now is building a following by offering similar high value content and links on twitter and with a Facebook fan page.

      See if you can guest post on the AmexOPEN site, too, to establish yourself.

      Other thing is, the small business market is notoriously behind the curve when it comes to tech. The vast majority still prefer to be contacted, especially micro-biz, offline. So once you’ve got some money coming in, don’t discount good old fashioned direct mail, speaking and other stuff like that

  42. […] this article: Renegade Birthday Giveaway: Pick Jonathan's Brain | Jonathan Fields Share and […]

  43. […] posted here: Renegade Birthday Giveaway: Pick Jonathan's Brain | Jonathan Fields Share and […]

  44. Jeffrey Tang says:

    Happy Birthday, Jonathan! May there be many more to come 🙂

    I’ve been blogging for about six months now, mostly doing a lot of experimenting with different topics and styles. Currently, I’ve settled on two blogs: The Art of Great Things ( and Simple Prose (

    I’m excited about the possibilities of both, but I feel sometimes as though there’s no unifying factor for either one, and that I’m jumping around a bit too much. I’m working on a manifesto-style ebook as one way to center myself around a coherent theme/brand/message. Do you have any other suggestions?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Jeffrey – a quick one for you. Sometimes we focus so much on crafting the message, we forget to spend a lot of time really defining the market/audience and the problem. Before you put a lot more energy into creating big pieces of content, go back and do this. The answers should come a lot easier, then

  45. Jennifer says:

    I have a really basic question. How do you get clients?

    I’m training to become a life coach. I’m extremely passionate about it. I’ve been in training with CoachU for about a year now, I’ll have my certificate within 3 months. I need clients … not even for money, but to practice on. I’ve reached out to at least 600 people/friends and only 2 have responded. Those 2 turned out to need much more than life coaching. All this marketing was done about 7/8 months ago. All my mentor coaches have told me that I do a fabulous job of coaching. I just don’t know when it’s time to give up your dream (and maybe move onto another one)?


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Jennifer – One word…blog. My good friend, Pam Slim, has built a thriving lifecoaching,info-product and training business entirely by offering tremendous information on her blog, then reaching doing all the things necesarry to market the blog (see links to my post on that in a few earlier comments).

      Spend as much time as humanly possible figuring online and local ways to give your knowledge away, to help people long before you start to ask for something in return. When you do, you begin to build a community that becomes your evangelist engine and future clients.

      Now, if you want to go beyond that, you can also do some pay per click and direct response advertising to accelerate the process. I tend to use all of the above when I’m launching something that I want to hit big quickly.

  46. Juliana says:

    I don’t have a question at the moment, but just wanted to stop by and say how awesome it is that you’re doing this.

    I’ll be passing it along on Twitter anyway!

    Happy Birthday,

    Juliana (@writeplayrepeat)

  47. Debbie Ferm says:

    Hi Jonathon,

    Happy Birthday, and as everyone else has expressed, this is an incredibly generous offer!

    I’m 42 and have done a little bit of a lot of things. I’ve got a marketing degree from a previous life, I’ve worked for the government, had a corporate job, was home with my kids for 10 years and taught Special Education for the past three. Now I’m working online as a freelancer, and a couple of my own projects.

    I’ve bought and sold three houses, lived in another country, and finished my master’s in education. I lost my mother, brother and best friend in the same year.

    All of this is to say I am an expert at absolutely nothing, except change. Yeah, I can teach a kid to read, and am a whiz at learning new things, but it all seems to add up to nuthin’.

    I’m starting a blog, and thinking about focusing on change as a concept. How it is inevitable, necessary, and ongoing. How people react to it, and crave it. How we want it, yet resist it, and how to deal with unwelcome change when it is thrust upon you.

    Do you think this is a viable topic? How would you position it? Market it? What should I sell? I’m more no nonsense than touchy/feely and have an appreciation of dry humor:)

    My God, that’s more than I meant to ask, but I just got carried away. I appreciate any advice you would like to share.


    Debbie Ferm

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Well, I could spew a bunch of stuff here OR just send you over to my friend, Ariane de Bonvoisin’s blog/website that does exactly what you’re talking about to check out:

      Ariane, beyond just being a cool person, has built a pretty serious brand around the idea that nothing stays the same, then offering guidance around the process of change. Hope this example spurs some ideas.

  48. Jonathan,

    Awesome opportunity, thanks. Just reading the answers above is a great way to learn.

    My question is this…frankly, I’m tired of the same strategies being used over and over again (give away an ebook and hope it goes viral, for instance).

    I’m looking to give a new product away, but even giving stuff away is tough these days, as there is so much being given for free.

    Do you have any interesting or unique ideas for giving something away and actually getting people to take it?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Nathan – you’re not going to like my answer, but what’s worked before still works like a charm IF…you write the bloody crap out of what you’re giving away. That’s where almost everyone goes wrong.

      Yes, it’s gotten really tough to get people to take something free that isn’t mindblowingly different, valuable and provocative. BUT, it’s easier than ever to get something stunningly remarkable to gain traction…because there’s so little of it. So, when people discover it, they can’t wait to share it.

      This is exactly what happened when I released my Fire Fly Manifesto and a year later, my Truth About Book Marketing reports. I spent all my time working on the content and got it to a point where all I really needed to get it going was a little seed work in social media. In fact, if you have to do a lot more than that, you probably haven’t hit the mark, the audience or the pain with what you’ve created.

      So, stop looking for ways to market better and start looking for ways to solve better.

  49. Happy Birthday!

    I’m about to start a website redesign.
    What updates do you suggest?

    twitter: @artyowza

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Build it in WordPress as a blog with static pages. Change all the test links that link to images into thumbnails to make it much more scannable and visual.

  50. Tisha Morris says:

    I have a non-fiction book coming out in 3 months with a publisher. What do I need to be doing 3 months, 2 months, and 1 month out from its release date?

    Thank you!!!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey T – Cultivate your tribes on 3 levels – outside influencers, regular community members and, if you’re inclined, inner circle tribe of people who get early access, input on the behind the scenes stuff and become core evangelists. I’d also think seriously about trying to release a major piece of online content shortly before that will generate a lot of preliminary buzz and potentially get passed around a lot and drive pre-orders.

      The last two weeks before launch are when you really want to be working like crazy to make sure your entire promotional machine is humming along. And, most important, don’t trust anyone else to follow through, double check every critical step yourself.

  51. lauren hanna says:

    First of all i cannot believe how many people you actually got to ask you free questions! Impressive!

    Second i have this yoga studio that is potentially on the brink of expanding, my yoga teacher has committed to moving her programming from a big east coast venue to my studio if i have space to host her.

    my teacher training school has expanded and so i am contemplating moving into a bigger physical space when my lease is up.

    question is, do i look for a backer for funds, or try to squeek it out on my own and maybe get a bank loan?

    this expansion is in the very early planning stages and i have no idea what it will actually cost to move but i know you do!

    early thoughts?

  52. Mary E. Ulrich says:

    Happy Birthday Jonathan, your words are always a present to all of us.

    I keep seeing conflicting advice: “If you use Blogger or another of the ‘free’ blog set-ups you don’t own the images and stories” or “Free is the way to start, there aren’t any downsides.” Would you recommend going with a “free’ blog set-up, or paying the extra to own it?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Mary – You always own the content you create, but if blogger shuts down your blog for any reason, it might go away, so be sure to back it up. If you are looking to blog as a way to build credibility, thought leadership or generate income, I’d move over to a wordpress blog hosted on your own domain. It gives you way more control over everything and presents as being much more professional.

      Or, check out and squarespace, they have some pretty slick blogging platforms and tumblr is free, but in my mind, much cooler than blogger

      • Mary E. Ulrich says:

        Thanks Jonathan.

        I would love if you would expand this into a blog post sometime. Mary

      • Charlie says:

        @Jonathan: I’d like to jump on this one and help out. I hope you don’t mind.

        @Mary: The conflicting advice here is based on the fact that people’s starting points are so wildly different. It boils down to resources and what’s going to get your momentum going.

        Some people are tech-savvy enough that the learning curve of owning and maintaining their own curve isn’t that cumbersome to them getting started, so starting out there is probably the way to go for them.

        Others need a lot of assistance on the tech front and don’t have the resources to pay someone else to get them started. For them, it makes more sense to start with a free blog, get some great content published, and then move to a self-hosted installation when they’re more comfortable or financially able to do so.

        For a myriad of reasons, you will eventually want your own self-hosted installation and domain if you’re building an online business. It’s up to you to determine whether it’s best to *start* there or transition there later.

  53. Ken Weinert says:

    Hey Jonathan, thanks for helping out us other folks.

    I have two things going on as I’m getting tired of my full time job and these things are very different.

    The one that is so far actually making us a (very) little money is No Piece Left Behind (, where we make wooden logic puzzles. The question on this one is mainly about marketing. Not really sure how to push these out.

    The second one is a person to person site (not yet live) at This one I’m mainly interested in getting your feedback on looks and the concept (just don’t look at it in IE – I’m still trying to accommodate that browser.) The intent is that the main person to person stuff is at no charge, but there will be some premium services associated.

    Thanks for any ideas – they’re certainly appreciated.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Ken – My bigger question, before we get to how you “push these out” is “is there a big and hungry enough market to make this a viable business for you?” I don’t know the answer, it would take a bit of research on your part, but I’m curious about that. All the pushing out in the world wont create a market or hunger if its not there.

  54. Sandy Abrams says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I love your newsletter & your tweets…Your energy is contagious and your sense of humor is appreciated. Just launched this book (Your Idea, Inc.) with small publisher and trying to get maximum exposure…any sort of advice is welcome!!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Sandy, there’s little more important in book marketing these days than building a community around both your and your ideas. I’d focus on that aspect, then turning your community into evangelists. Also get in front of people, face to face, to talk about it. You really can’t market entirely online. And, download my free Truth About Book Marketing ebook (top right)

  55. Hi Jonathan

    Thank you for this incredible opportunity. Do you know that Hobbitts on their birthday give away presents, as opposed to receiving presents like we do? This insures that Hobbitts get presents all year around!

    So, I am a published poet, with my book Beyond Words, selling on Amazon. I have also created a methodology which I teach through one-to-one coaching, encouraging people to access and develop their creativity for their artistic endeavors, as well as to enhance their life – with the idea of them leading an inspired life.

    I am not a fan of the word ‘coach’ but struggle to put a label on what I do. The business is called CNI. Create.Nurture.Inspire. which outlines the 3 core principles/steps/processes of the methodology. It is still in its early phases, and I am in the process of creating a website. I also have a blog on the Huffington Post.

    I am seeking advice on how to integrate my poetry and my business. Inside me they are very much interrelated as they both feed each other, and I am not sure if it will be more beneficial to keep them separate or look to mesh them somehow.

    I already have a poetry website and I am considering publishing ALL of my poetry on this website. This is intuitively what I am getting inside to do as a way to share my work, which is what I want to do, but of course I have the ‘old-school’ thinking that tells me to keep it, and publish it in a book, or how else will I “make money”.. what are your thoughts?

    And lastly any tips on how to promote myself as a poet? Poetry has still got pretty poor press, with people associating it to boredom in school class rooms, but my poetry, and many other poets these days, are far from this.

    Thanks for your time,and for posting the responses here. Just reading this page has changed the way I think. Very powerful. And if you would like one of my poetry books, I would be delighted to share it with you as my gift.

    Love Tamsin Rothschild

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey T – Why not integrate everything into one blog? Use the blog page to share your expertise on the creative process and release some of your poetry there too both for enjoyment, but also as “proof” that you know how to unlock the creative process.

      Whether you’re better off holding your full collections as books or not is still something that’s being hotly debated across the book and publishing world. But, I’m wondering how much you earn from your poetry books anyway, even if you you did hold your content back. Seems like your expertise/services may be a better “monetization” tool.

      Also, just because the poems are out on a blog doesn’t mean they won’t sell as a book. The audiences are often very different and when people buy a book they not only buy the content, they buy the accesability and keepsake value of the book “format.”

  56. Patty says:

    Aloha Jonathan,

    Happy birthday! I just can’t believe how generous you are to offer this. All the good stuff you’ve said to everyone so far has been inspiring. You just “get it.” Your is my absolute most favorite blog.

    Two things—we’d like to give our homepage ( a slightly more updated look. Can you take a look at it and offer some suggestions? There’s so much: a weekly cooking video, recipes, eating plans, breaking news, etc. Is it too cluttered? We are a non-profit foundation and have an encyclopedic website about the World’s Healthiest Foods. We don’t allow any outside advertising, so we are not influenced by advertisers. Everything is backed by science (no hype.) We’re as legitimate as an organization can get! Second thing—We’re coming out with an ebook, Healthy Weight Loss Without Dieting that is about 150 pages. This is the real deal. Do you have any suggestions for how we might get that across? When I hear about a “diet” book, I immediately dismiss it. We will send a letter to our 25,000 subscribers and hope to receive a good response as this is the only way we can derive outside income to support the foundation.

    Many, many mahalos!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Aloha Patty, thanks for the kind words. A few thoughts on the website. I’d widen out the site to at least 960 pixels to look more updated, drop the navigation under the header (its’ too lost up top) and also simplify a lot. There’a ton of info on the homepage, but not clear path to find what you want. Limit the options on the front page to fewer options, then let people drill down as they go deeper into the site.

      For the ebook, any kind of weight loss book is an uphill battle, especially an ebook, because they have lower perceived values. Not a knock on yours and I’m not trying to discourage you, just being real. Focus your energy on how your book is different and better than whats out there and the more proof, the better. I’d create a seperate landing page just for the ebook, too, test conversion with pay per click, then when it’s converting well, begin to reach out to potential affiliates

  57. Ethan says:

    Hi Jonathan-

    Congrats 1 full year of Career Renegade!… I was in the Renegade group back at the beginning of last year and just thrilled that you’re still giving, and giving and giving some more.

    My questions has to do with the headline and sub-headline of our sales page. Any ides on what would be better for what we do? We’ve just re-done the page and sign-up process to streamline it and we’re in the midst of tweaking before we drive traffic so this is a great opportunity to pick your brain… again:)

    Here’s the page:

    Anyway, any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated… and thanks again for all the work you’re putting in on this “offer” of yours!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Ethan – Great to see what you’re up to. First a design tweak – broaden your borders. The text runs very close to the edges of your frames, making it harder to read, so add more what space to the edges.

      On the copy, it doesn’t speak to me. Where’s the self interest, news or intrigue?

      Right now it reads:


      Use the ProAssisting Training Program to shine from day one and get promoted up your career path in the shortest time possible.

      What if you changed it to:

      Headline – Discover How to Break Out of the Assistant Deadzone and Make the Leap Into World of High-Paid Executive

      Subhead – Little known fact, many of the top executives in the world started as entry-level assistants. But, then did certain things that propelled them into the executive suite faster than anyone else. I wonder what might happen to your career if you knew what they knew…

      • Ethan says:

        This a really great… thanks a TON!… Wishing you and yours a great 2010 with less visits to the doctor’s office!

  58. Paul says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Happy book birthday!

    I want to ask your advice about my blog – I think it has a unique, personal angle which I think is a good thing. But what can I do to make things better/find a way to make it pay?

    Brainstorm for me Jonathan!!



  59. Phil Mags says:

    Hey Jonathan,

    Happy b-day and a quick question.

    My company has just reduced the base salary of it’s sales force by 60% while increasing the commission %. In today’s market it’s difficult to forecast most deals with any real accuracy, so I’m a bit concerned about having a smooth cash flow. I have a wife and 3 small children, so this is a big issue.

    My question is whether I should look for a new gig or start something on the side to supplement. With the intention of doing that “side job” full time some day.


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Phil – With a wife and 3 kids, I’m guessing you’re not in a position to take a big risk right now. There are a lot of things I don’t know about your situation, so I have to keep this pretty general. But, if there’s something else your heart is singing to do and you can do the research to see if there is a viable way to make money doing it AND you can start to do it on the side and let your experience tell whether it’s capable of supporting you, seems like a solid option.

      Other thing if you do really enjoy your job now is to brainstorm ways to make yourself indispensible, to do what nobody else is doing, make your own playbook. If you’re capable to consistently crushing it from a sales standpoint, commission might actually be a good thing for you. And, if you’re not, what can you do to become that person?

  60. Sean says:

    Happy Birthday Jonathan!

    From one busy dad to another I would like your feedback, suggestions, hooks, advice on pursuing my online passion for Dad Fitness and helping busy dads around the world get fit and be around for a long time to spend more time being a dad and less time in the gym.

    Thanks and have a great day!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Sean – Nice to hear from you again. Big questions, too. But, the hook is really just the intersection of (a) where the deepest sources of pain, unsatisfied need is, for dads around this issue and (b) how you can solve the problem better, easier and faster than the average trainer, gym or other fitness offering. I don’t know the answer to those, since it’s not my market focus, but you should be able to key in on them fairly quickly. Once you do, the “hook” becomes much easier to define and then run with. Put another way, as a dad, you’ve got to give me a reason why that nobody else is giving me, then prove it.

  61. Michael Roth says:

    I will save the questions for later, just wanted to wish you a very happy birthday.

    And thanks for sharing; both your birthday and your ideas.

  62. Tim M says:

    Hey J,
    Tim from Australia here.
    Wow, this is so generous.

    For me, I’ve started – coffee review site; it is user drive (so anyone can add a review, and then people can subsequently add ratings).
    I’m about to release an iPhone app, and dropped a Survey Monkey survey about app features to my homies yesterday.

    From where you sit, what are the gaps on the website do you think?

    I’m missing a cool slogan I think.

    Cheers and have a rocking bday


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Tim –

      Cool idea for a site. Some thoughts…

      1 – You’re using some kind of pop-up window for your survey. kill it. People hate them and most browsers block them. Just put it on the site. You also have the pop up code on every page, which will send people screaming away from the site very quickly

      2 – When you crowdsource your content, traffic is mission critical. No traffic, no crowd, no content. If you keep this strategy, I’d work my butt off to generate a ton of traffic asap, either by using all the general blog marketing strategies (see posts above) and/or paying for it.

      3. The ratings are buried too far down on the post pages, most people will never even make it to them, riase them up toward the top.

      4. Do a bunch of keyword research using googles free keyword tool to find out what people search on when looking for coffe/coffee house reviews and be sure to integrate them into the posts/headline.

      Final thought, may be a tough go, since you’re eventually going to be going up against bigger dining rating sites, but the niche focus might be enough. Also keep a close eye on creating collaborations with others in the coffee space

  63. Hello there,

    What a great idea for a whirlwind give back…

    I have a small biz I am very passionate about that has not in it’s year and a half of existence proven to be financially viable. Since my target is artists and creative people, I am coming up against scarcity consciousness quite a bit- so my coaching one on one isn’t really selling right now. Can you peek at the site and tell me if you see another income stream potential there or any ideas as to how to get more clients in the arts sector or other ways to monetize the site/brand??
    growing & promoting creative enterprises


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Audette – Two quick thoughts.

      1 – The first page needs to be more immediately clear about what you’re offering. Something like “Who Else Wants To Earn a Great Living Creating Great Art?”

      2 – A big missing element on the site is proof. How do we know you can deliver? I want to see case studies, strategies, ideas.

      This type of service would benefit bigtime from a blog as a way to build credibility and demonstrate enough value to help with a lot of convincing.

  64. WI want to refocus my comfort / tweak my author business plan into something that has more of a clear benefit to women. And feels perhaps a tad fresher for us over 40 types. Where would you see my next step being? Thanks honey! I feel greedy asking you for something again so soon after you did our cool interview but what the heck. Happy Birthday!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Jen – I think you’re already doing a lot of what you need to do with your retreats, info-products and more. I’d just keep growing what you’re growing. Your brand is already decidely woman oriented with a strong bent toward women over 40.

  65. Jonathan, Your work and responses to people as part of your b-day gift are impressive, as is your generosity. Acts like this along with a cup of hot chocolate will nudge us along to peace.
    I’m looking for help with headlines and hooks.I worked on my own as a consultant with project teams both training and facilitating them in process improvement/statistical problem solving methodologies for almost two decades. For a number of reasons I let that business die off about 3 years ago. I’m ready to work again and my goal is to be a professional speaker and workshop facilitator in what I have named Borderless Thinking. I see my work similar to the type Joel Barker did with The Business of Paradigms or Peter Senge with mental models, which makes it applicable to any business. I would say my work is to:

    * challenge assumptions/perceptions about the way you do business
    * help you practice divergent thinking
    * recognize the value of differing viewpoints
    * see your business through an unshuttered lens
    help you reinvent business as usual.
    How can I say that better or have a hook, something that will resonate. What does it do for you? Thanks.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Cherry – Those are all great “features,” but here’s the challenge…people buy benefits, not features, especially corporations.

      So, here’s your homework, add a comma after each of your bullets and answer the “why you care” question. Also, the bullets are very corporate speaky. I know your buyers are companies, but PEOPLE who buy are PEOPLE are, honestly, are used to seeing blah blah blah corporate speak all day long. Be the one who is different by speaking in simple, jargon-free language.

  66. Shann says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Happy Birthday and thank you for your kindness.

    In just under 2 years, I have finished the manuscript for Life on Your Terms – Stories of Entrepreneurial Freedom.

    Thank you again for being part of the book. I am super stoked to get this baby published!

    I have been interviewing Indie publishers and don’t see the value in dropping big coin upfront plus the cost of each book. This is my life’s work and I am in it for the long haul. I have a strong support team (Designer, Editor, VA, Photographer) and wonder if it may be in my best interest to roll out the book on my own terms! Charlie Gilkey over a Productive Flourishing got me thinking about this option today. It really hadn’t occurred to me … until now.

    What steps would you recommend I take to self publish, and what kind of pitfalls should I be aware of?

    I would also like your advice on the best way to involve the 40+ inspirational entrepreneurs that are part of the project.

    Thanks again for your generosity.



    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Shann – I would definitely consider that option. Check out Peter Bowerman’s book, The Well Fed Self Publisher, it’s got a ton of great resources. And, also check out, and

      • Shann says:

        Thanks Jonathan.

        I am ordering up the book you recommended right now!

        Any ideas about how I can best involve the entrepreneurs I interviewed for big wins all around?

        Thanks Again and BIG love!

  67. Helen says:

    Hi Jonathan, I have a quite successful, income-generating website – I write as a freelancer for a major internet publisher – and I’d like to start a separate website as an outlet for my other ideas, but I worry about diluting my energies. They’re already spread thin with parenting, music, writing and the website work. But I think I have a lot more ideas to offer!

    How do you maintain multiple projects with such a high degree of enthusiasm?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Helen – Equal doses of chocolate and coffee, lol. Kidding…well, kinda!

      That’s actually one of things I’m focusing on right now, since I seem to perpetually have too much on my plate. I’m not the greatest resources for keeping creative balls in the air, BUT as Shann above just mentioned, my buddy Charlie Gilkey is. Go check out his awesome blog at:

      You’ll get a ton of ideas there

    • Charlie says:

      @Jonathan: Thanks for the recommendation, bro!

      @Helen: This seems to be largely a matter of sequencing and focusing on one thing in each area at a time. There are three ways to focus on something:
      1) Determine what your objectives are, and try to work on one objective at a time
      2) When you’re in the trenches of your daily work, try to limit switching back and forth all day. Give each component of your life and business its due time.
      3) Separate thinking and doing. When you’re planning and brainstorming, plan and brainstorm. When you’ve got that plan, do the actions relevant to the plan. It’s easy to spin your wheels by bouncing between these two ways of thinking.

      Some say the free planners on my blog help with them with these three things. You might want to give ’em a try. (You can find them under “Free Planners” on the navbar of my blog.)

      • Helen South says:

        @Jonathan thanks for the suggestion – and I’ve gained a great deal from reading this whole discussion!

        @Charlie, thanks so much. The point about ‘switching’ is very useful – I’ve got a bad habit of working ‘on the fly’ and changing my mind, a terrible timewaster. Solid resources on your site, I’ll recommend them to my readers too!

  68. Angela says:

    Hey Jonathan – Thanks for the opportunity to pick your brain, and happy birthday to Career Renegade!

    So much of what I read about learning to use social media is geared toward getting your message out and monetizing your efforts, but there’s still a substantial learning curve and psychic energy needed for many to jump into something so unknown. It will change in time, but many people who may not be interested in gaining a wide audience, may enjoy, benefit from, and be great followers once they jump in (i.e. participation v. domination).

    While everyone’s a publisher and everyone has a message with social media (to some degree at least), do you know of anyone who’s doing a good job of simply creating more readers/followers? Maybe talking more about dipping your toe in or jumping in (rather than diving in full throttle) and doing it in a simple way?

    I wonder if there’s opportunity here – in creating more followers by demistifying the technology and serving as a focused filter as the number of blogs continues to multiple (similar to aggregation or a blog network)? Maybe it’s just a series or an eBook or maybe it’s just my decidedly offline network that has me thinking about this! 🙂


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Angela – There is very likely a big and growing market for demystifying social media, BUT it’s also getting fairly crowded fairly quickly. Shama Hyder is about to release The Zen of Social Media, and there is a growing collection of Dummies and Idiots book on the topic and I know at least one more that soon to hit the shelves.

      So, that challenge would really be how yours would be different. Not saying it’s impossible, but you’d really have to have a very strong hook/point of differentiation. to cut through all the noise.

  69. Susan Sagun says:

    Hi Jonathan –

    Happy Birthday! How can Pockets of Dreams connect with more buyers so we can keep our dream alive of helping women and children in Uganda and Rwanda? It seems we’re not connecting with enough people who care – or that think they can afford to care.

    Thank you for taking this question!

    Susan Sagun
    Co-Founder, Co-Dreamer
    Pockets of Dreams

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Susan – Sounds like a great mission. It also looks like you have a small team of women (at least from the picture) running the show. Why not get everyone involved in social media, tweeting, setting up a Facebook fanpage and then blogging about what you do, how you help, doing features and profiles?

      CharityWater is a great example of how a cause tapped social media to build huge awareness and raise a lot of money. And, of course, other options include searching for sponsors (a tough sell in this economy) and potentially advertising or doing a direct mail campaign. But, then you’re starting to talk about spending money that might never come back to you.

      I’d start out in social media, add a blogging element to what you’re doing and build from there.

  70. Tom Bentley says:

    Jonathan, first of all, thank you for this generous offer, and second Career Renegade is an inspiring book I’ve recommended to many people.

    My deal: I’ve been a jack-of-all-trades freelancer for years (with some office stints), writing tech docs, direct mail, ads, brochures, newsletters, case studies, enchiladas and beans and rice too. I also write fiction, travel pieces and essays. I want to upgrade my site into an info depot, with for-sale short “how-to” ebooks on a lot of writing topics, and give some of them away too. Probably a blog as well, though the concept of one more blog might need smell-o-vision or something to flare readership nostrils.

    My question is, I see a lot of info on niche marketing, where copywriters do well specializing in one discipline, like white papers (writing them and writing about writing them). However, I enjoy being a generalist, and writing inside and outside many genres. Do you think selling ebooks that run from how to write a day-trip travel piece to how to write a software quick-start guide is too unfocused of an idea? (And I’ll steal all my promotional concepts from your Tribal Author site…)

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Tom – I think if the market you are going for with the ebooks is people who are looking to write commercial copy and make money, you can keep it fairly broad, then sell ebooks that address “sub-niches.” Especially, since a lot of freelance commercial writers are like you and enjoy writing on a number of topics and for a variety of clients (though, we both know it’s a lot easier to grow your biz if you become known as the go-to guy in a tight, high-demand specialty)

      Check out Peter Bowerman’s books (The Well Fed Writer series). He keeps it pretty broad and has sold a lot of books

  71. First, the sucking up: over the past year, you’ve slowly edged into a tie with Seth for space in my head. Someone somewhere else said that they ‘work like an ant’, meaning if someone drops a roadblock in their way, they go over, under, around or through, but they keep going. That’s you; you’re an ant.

    I’ve become fascinated with fear, the bad kind and the good kind. I’m determined to know the difference, and use one as a tool and the other as a doormat.

    Here’s my challenge: I let 2009 get away from me; total lack of focus, chasing mirages, flailing. Now, Best Beloved and I have nailed it down, we’re on the path I started October 2008 which we knew then was right, but which we wandered from all last year. (Short version: I help people learn how to make a great living doing what they love . . . )

    Except, now, there’s no money. No income, no savings. The rent is gonna get paid, and we’ll eat. But, buy a business book? Meet a client for lunch somewhere? Fix the brakes on the car? There’s no money. (I’ve lived ‘poor’ in rural Texas; I’ve lived pretty darn well near the ocean in San Diego. Today, we’re in the bottom 1% of that continuum.)

    I’ve got prospects in the pipeline, but paying clients three months from now just might be too late.

    How do I get out of the hole I’ve dug and make a great living doing what I love? (I’d love the quick and simple answer, but I’ll take the hard work and patience answer, too 😉 Seriously, whether it’s general guidance or detailed specifics, I’m wide open. I’m flailing in near-panic, and that’s not how you keep a boat from sinking.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Joel – First, love my new moniker…Professional ANT!

      Okay, this is a question a lot of people were asking me by the end of last year. It’s the main reason I released a revised version the Fire Fly Manifesto.

      My short answer is – it’s nearly impossible to think straight or do great work when your bleeding and wondering if you’re going to keep your house…when you’re in survival mode, not dream manifestation mode.

      If that means getting a “band-aid” job for a while that allows you to stop the bleeding, get stable and give you a bit of “renegade time” to keep building your next big move on the side until you’re more stable and it’s more ready, I see nothing wrong with that. In fact, that’s the path most often taken.

  72. Jesse Wilkinson says:

    Thank you for your time! I had a chance to read your book in 2009 and loved it! I learned a ton and really have began to think of how I too can become a Career Renegade. My question is this: when creating “Information” products (Ex: “Launching Your Quest for Authority” or writing an ebook) how do you keep away from stealing or plagiarizing the information that you gather? So often I read about some great idea from a blog or book, but feel like if I were to go and post it to a blog, I would bring very little new or original ideas and so would just be taking other people work. So, thank you for the book, the blog and your many great ideas. Jesse

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Jesse – Great question and one of every writer’s fears. When I was writing Career Renegade, my publisher actually wanted to send me copies of some “similar” books that were coming out and I said I didn’t want to see them. In fact, my friend, Pam Slim, who wrote Escape From Cubicle Nation wanted to send me hers, too, and neither of us wanted to see the other’s until we were done. Not so much because of the plagiarism issue, we just didn’t want to be inadvertently derivative. So, I think you have to take in what you can and just do you best to credit anyone you’re borrowing from and work really hard to craft your own stuff. No easy answer, tho. 🙂

  73. Jim Edward says:

    Imitation is the best form of flattery, so I can truly say thank you! Seeing your online success has encouraged my biz partner to sell his book online. With that being said I have been keeping an eye on your other site as well and have found it very motivating. So my (crazy) question is this: Is there one thing that stands out as to the defining moment when you knew you were doing the right thing? You know, that moment when you’re on the inside looking out instead of the outside looking in? What was it that you were doing that made that moment a reality?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Jim, it’s a great question. And, I wish I could say there was one defining moment, but truth is, I’m still very mush in the journey of discovery. I don’t know if there is ever really a “there there.” But, the fact that I get to spend most days doing what I love, connect with great people, and see my wife and daughter all the time are “signposts” that what I’m doing is working well for me.

  74. Adrienne says:

    We are in the process of selling our restaurant and opening a completely different type of restaurant in a different city. We’ve had little success with buying ads (newspaper and radio) but had huge sales whenever we had a newspaper review. What is the best way to get food critics to review a new restaurant? Thanks.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Adrienne – That depends largely on the size of the city and the demand and reputation of the critics. In bigger cities with tons of restaurants opening every week, it’s a tough sell. Though, I’ve actually done a bunch of restaurant PR in NYC and done well with placements. The single best way is to build a relationship over time. The second best way is to get the ears (and stomachs) of a handful of people the reviewer knows, likes and respects (or is friends with), next rung down is seeing if you can connect via social media, the last thing is to send that gold old press kit. But, either way, you should have a pitch letter and press kit that gives reviewers a very strong reason to come in.

      What is DIFFERENT about your restaruant that warrants attention? Maybe it’s the chef’s story, the unusual fare, the crazy setting or vintage fabric from the early 1900s or Eames inspired decor. Answer the question “why this restaurant?”

      Also, reataurants happen to work really well with social media, especially twitter. Google “Naked Pizza twitter” and you’ll find a great story on how they generate 30-70% of sales from twitter.

  75. Dorothea says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    Happy Birthday! I love your work. Thanks so much for the gift of your time today. Here are my questions:
    1) What do you think about the website doing the work as both a “traditional” website and a blog? Do you see a movement toward all information being in one space? For example, I have friends who have websites and separate blogs. I suspect that having info. in one spot could be easier to navigate and be beneficial for search engine rankings. I ask because I’m blowing up my website and starting over and am considering this integration.
    2) Although the idea of integration is appealing, I’m concerned about having enough content for a blog. My business is college admissions and I’m starting to do more MBA admissions. These are two different audiences so would I need to pick a primary audience and blog for them? And would the blog take the place of my bi-monthly newsletter? (Thanks for earlier post about top bloggers and driving traffic tips.)
    3) Can you provide suggestions on how to find the MBA applicant audience– twenty-somethings who are looking at the top programs.

    I look forward to hearing your insights. Thanks again!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Dorothea – website and blogs have become largely integrated these days, especially with platforms like WordPress that let you essentially build a full blown website around your blog pages (like this one, heeheehee). So, yes, you can and probably should keep it all in one place. Plus it’s better for search engine optimization.

      Second q – how do you find MBA candidates? Free options include getting on social media, especially twitter and doing daily searches for people who are using keywords relevant to people looking at MBA programs, following them, then building conversations. On your site, I would take those same keywords and use them for SEO (search engine optimization) to drive organic traffic, by including them in your posts and headlines. There’s a ton more you can do for SEO, but that’s the bare minimum. And,if you want to advertise, think about using those same keywords to test pay per click ad campaigns on google, bing and Facebook

  76. Tom says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Happy b-day! Thanks for doing this.

    I have a music blog where I wrote about my collection of 12,000 extremely rare experimental music. The traffic has been decent even though I haven’t updated it for a while. In the age of most music can be obtained online for free, do you see any way to monetize my passion for weird music? Or some hobbies simply can not be turned into a living?


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Funny enough, the weirder it is, the easier it probably is to monetize because it’s so hard to find. The challenge is whether there’s a big enough group of people who want weird music (LOL) to make it worth your while. Dunno the answer to that. And, if so, you’d also own all the rights that would allow you to monetize. If you do, you could also think about posting them up for licensing as stock music through various online outlets

  77. Jonathan,

    First, thanks for your suggestions and Happy Birthday.

    I created a product/exercise to inspire girls to think positively about themselves and in turn boost their self-esteem.

    How can I reach a broader audience in the shortest amount of time? My goal is to create an organic word of mouth campaign between mothers or fathers who have bought these for their daughters and share the concept with their relatives and friends. Thoughts?

    Thanks, Jen

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Jen – Love that you’ve already got active social media profiles. But, the part of your question that grabbed me most was “in the shortest amount of time.” Social media works, but it can often take a solid chunk of time to build a big enough community.

      Two thoughts –

      1. Advertise – Pay per click.

      2. Create some kind of ebook that has a ton of great value and name it something like “The Truth About Girls’ Self-Esteem”, put it on a landing page that requires email and use that to build your list that you can then market to. Or, the other option is to leave it completely ungated and hope that leads to a bit of viral uptake (tho with this topic, not so sure that would happen).

  78. Nicole says:

    Hi Jonathan, am new to reading your blog and loving every minute of it. Haven’t read your book yet but it is on order.

    I may soon be able to open my own yoga studio, a dream I’ve been working on for several years. (Love what you did with Sonic Yoga.) Here’s my question: I want to be able to make yoga accessible to the biggest range of people possible – I wonder if I try to appeal to the broadest base does that dilute the potency of my efforts or does it afford me the benefit of multiple angles? If I’m trying to focus on my audience, “Everybody” seems a little vague. How do I narrow the focus while remaining inclusive?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Your intuition is right, “everybody” is a bit broad. It’s doable, but it’s much easier to market to a very very defined sub-group of people and offer a solution, setting, style, approach tailored exactly to their needs.

  79. I’ve been a Fitness Professional for over 20 years, teaching every type of class imaginable, and training hundred of fitness professionals all over the world. Currently I work as University Administrator because I make pretty much double what I did in fitness, yet the work I did assiting others to make the very most of their lives was the most valuable work I have ever done.

    I truly believe that when you move your body, you move your life – that engaging in regular physical activity is often the very first step in making true life change. That being said, the fitness industry struggles, for good reason, with real credibility issues, and seems to perpetuate the idea that fitness is about appearance.

    I want to write a ‘how to’ fitness book that emphasizes buiding fitness as a way to build your life, and I want to include photos of real people, doing real things that don’t cost a ton of money in beautiful places.

    In terms of making this happen, would you recommed building a following on a blog first? And would you recommend self publishing, or trying to find a publisher?

    I also want to thank you for this opportunity, and for inspiring me to do the same next year on my birthday and at Christmas. I loooove it.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Loewen – You got it, I would definitely say to spend some time giving a lot and building a community before to try to draw money from the community. Or, if you want to move faster, you can push people to the landing page for the ebook either with ads and/or affiliate traffic with a site like

  80. D says:


    Wow, you have a large number of these, I will try to keep my question concise and clear.

    I did cancer research for over 5 years, and have been working at a biotech for the past 3. My biotech creates and sells certain consumables for the science industry. These consumables (lets call them widgets) are pretty expensive to create (~$5000 each) and are all unique. Because of this high cost, there are over 300 companies who all make and sell anywhere from 50 to 2000 widgets each. It is a complete pain for customers to find or even know about widgets they may need because there are so many companies.

    I have been researching development of a multi-company niche search engine/comparison site, and I want to start now while I am still working for my current biotech employer. I have 2 questions.

    1. If I develop this while employed at my current company, since there is some industry overlap, can they claim any ownership of this company? Even though they are a biotech company, and I will be a technology company at my core. Would they have some kind of intellectual property over my idea and business?

    2. Would that be just cause for termination if they discover that I am doing this at night/weekends? I have kids/mortgage, so I can’t risk losing my job. I will be investing sweat and time, not much money.

    I am trying to be clear, but at the same time I am always so worried that they will find out what I am thinking of doing. I already have a great domain, and I can’t wait to get started!

    You are awesome for doing this, hopefully I can return the favor and help you some day.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      D – Sounds like an intersting biz opp, especially if you can create affiliate relationships with the vendors. I’d love to answer your 2 questions, but my (ancient) legal hat also tells me that’d be treading a little close on giving legal advice. That said, I think they are serious questions and you’d want to run them by an employment attorney before you go to far

  81. Salma says:

    Hey Jonathan, if you’re still answering questions, here’s mine:

    I’m a freelance writer/business owner based in Pakistan (yeah yeah developing country and all that) but my current roster of clients is all american/european/australian. I get equal amounts of hits on my website from Pakistan and the US/Canada.

    This year I’m planning to develop my own product line (e-books, e-courses, etc) but I’m totally confused as to how I should position it:

    1. to local Pakistanis who will in all likelihood not buy anything online w/ a credit card (PayPal doesn’t operate here) because they are just e-commerce shy


    2. to freelancers worldwide, which is hardly a niche market and therefore chances of success practically nil.

    I’d love to be able to concentrate on the local market and build up from there but I just don’t see how online products can work here.


    p.s. Would dark chocolate help me think more intelligently and stop my moronic behavior?


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Salma – Yes, dark chocolate fixes pretty much everything, lol!

      The answer depends entirely on what the problem being solved is and who the people are who have this problem. And, you’re right to think, the more specific you can get with the market the easier is it to appeal to their specific needs and trigger points. Also, it sounds like there are a lot of logistic challenges in marketing within your country. So, I might start with a focus outside, then test moving into your market. But, again, it depends entirely on what the ebook solves or creates.

      • Salma says:

        Thanks for your response Jonathan. I’m going to have to think long and hard about market positioning with reference to my product – e-books and e-courses designed to help freelancers start and run their own businesses.

        Wishing you many chocolate-filled days in 2010 🙂

  82. Gina says:

    I am planning to consult to individuals and businesses. My product is facilitated sessions of personality testing, individual consult, and role playing for team development at the corporate level. I have Army experience including a heroic war story, contracting and corporate experience for the past 20 years. I plan to bring motivation, personal learning and inspire group commitment wherever I go.

    What would you call this? Corporate Coaching? Corporate Training?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Hey Gina – The questions isn’t so much what I would call it, but what might appeal/resonate most with the avatar of the person most likely to buy your services. Think along those lines, but generally, it does sound like some kind of coaching or consulting

  83. Shari says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Happy birthday!

    I designed a line of dog collars and leashes ( that I’m in the process of manufacturing right now.

    The next step is wholesaling to stores. I have handpicked 2-3 stores in different cities that I’d like to get them into (don’t want to oversaturate the market), but I’ve never done sales or cold calling before and would love to hear any tips on contacting stores and convincing them to fall in love with and buy tons of my product.

    Do you suggest minimum order requirements? Reaching out by phone or email? Line sheets?

    Thanks a ton!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Shari – if they are individually owned, I’d just show up asking for the owner with the product, be as humble and sweet as possible and offer to leave them with X number of samples and a merchandiser that they are free to sell and keep all the profits. Then, circle back a week or two later and check on what’s left. If they sell, there’s a good shot the owner will want to order more, this time for money. If it’s a chain, you may need to find out who the manager/buyer is and see if you can set up a time to stop by and make a similar offer, positioning it as a test in anticipation of an order.

  84. Hi Jonathan!
    Happy Birthday! (Has it been a year already?) And look who came to your party! Hi Joel, Tom B. and Michael M. 😀

    I don’t have a specific question for you, but have to thank you for several answers above that provided focus. I’ll be sending you our fabulous updated, prettified version of what-you-hopefully-are-still-able-to-get-to-about-now within the next few days. So, thank you, thank you again for your generosity on that.

    Cheers and congratulations,

  85. Joel Libava says:

    Happy Book Birthday!

    I’m just here thanking you for spending some time with me a while back. Great suggestions.

    Keep on keepin on!

    The Franchise King®
    Joel Libava

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Thanks, Joel, loving what you’re up to these days as well, my friend!

  86. Tara says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    I just read your interview on White Hot Truth and felt quite compelled to stop by and add a comment.

    Here’s the situation: I am a triathlon coach and yoga teacher..pretty much an independent contractor. I, like you, am passionate about the human body, the mind/body/spirituality connection, being of service and get super inspired when I help others reach their goals.

    Income is on the low end as I teach 5 classes week, 1 workshop a month, training 1 athlete, and I am a stay at home mom to 2 boys.

    I am looking to grow my business (www.trikulacoaching) into a full time career, maybe collaborating, consulting for various health/wellness/sports organizations I have this idea that I need to obtain additional certifications whether it be yoga or PT in order to make more money. But that means more money out then coming in for the next few years.

    Any words of advice, what can I do?

    Thank you!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Check out Bedros Keullian’s blog

      He has a ton of great marketing info for health and fitness professionals that’s very relevant or easily adapted to yoga private practice building, too.

  87. Adam King says:

    Physical products obviously make up a chunk of my biz. I’m moving to sell online, and sell almost exclusively online. The majority of my audience is hundreds if not thousands of miles from me.

    What I’m working on right now, is a plan of engagement. I want to turn my visitors into loyal repeat buyers. Most people aren’t used to hitting a “Buy Now” button for a $5,000 product, are they? I don’t know.

    So, how would a Career Renegade go about doing this? What would be the unconventional strategy of the Renegade trying to market and sell his high end work online, and make it nothing short of awesome?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Adam – 3 words – credibility, legend, relationship

      If you want people to cut a check for something they’ve only seen online, you need these three.

      Credibility – Build credibility and trust with a very polished, high-touch website, you might even have a blog element that talks about your work, current projects, interesting stories.

      Legend – At this price point, most people want to buy more than a product, they want to buy a story, a legend. They want the mythology. So, when folks buy Harley’s they’re not just paying for the motorcycle, they’re buying the mythology. What is your legend? Your story? That people will be buying into along with the furniture?

      Relationship – This will not be a first-contact sale. Set up vehicles for people to learn your legend, see your creations, then easily arrange a time to talk to you to learn more.

      You might also include a free report, something like “The 10 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Buying Handcrafted Furniture” and send it out in exchange for an email address. Then, create a monthly email newsletter as another way to build the relationship

  88. Rebecca says:

    Happy Birthday and thank you so much for this opportunity to pick your brain! I just picked up and read your book this week, and just started following your blog. I am pretty new to this social media/blog world, so I’m still trying to find my way around, but I look forward to digging into your earlier posts!

    My question is pretty vague and strange, but I’m hoping you have an opinion or answer. Quick background: I’m in my late 20s, and just a few weeks ago quit my job as a registered nurse because everything in me knew that medicine is nowhere near a passion of mine (more a burden). Before a nurse, I performed research in a molecular biology lab. From my childhood onward, I was never really allowed to have and explore passions, and into my twenties (and two college degrees) never found anything as a passion or even knew where to look. It’s been school and work, mostly!

    Question: My husband and I want to start a business together, with me doing the majority of the work. He’s currently a CFO, so he has the experience.

    1) Do you know of any resources/books/blogs to find out how to discover passions/interests (for me) that might lead to a successful business venture?

    2) Without a specific passion other than wanting to start a business, do you recommend a certain path? Learn about social media/blogs/online business? Or maybe start more traditional, with a franchise or business from scratch with a more traditional start?

    Thank you for your book, and thank you for your generosity! I hope you have a fantastic celebration for your birthday!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Rebecca – I think Pam Slim is probably better at the finding your passion side of the equation than me. I’m good at helping you once you’ve keyed in on it, lol. I’d spend some time on her blog and check out her book, too.

  89. Mo says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I’ve been blogging for just over a year now in a mostly monthly format. Long term, I’d love to officially blog/write for an online or print publication, but am taking it slow and feeling things out. Ya know…living in the moment. 🙂

    Short term, I’d like to significantly increase readership of my blog. What are a few things I can implement quickly, which are affordable, that will bring me results?

    Thanks so much for your time and wisdom!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Mo, check out the post I shared on blog marketing in a bunch of the earlier comments, that should give you a bunch of ideas

  90. Sean Aiken says:

    Wow, Jonathan, this is incredibly generous of you!

    Not sure if you’ll get to my comment, but I’m working on how best to market my book, “The One Week Job Project: 1 Man, 1 Year, 52 Jobs”, to a younger online demographic.

    Any thoughts?



    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Tons of ideas, but one fun one might be to pitch a 4 part morning TV segment that took a group of people through the process with 4 different jobs over 4 different weeks then reported back in every week and had you answer some questions and guide them

  91. Mary says:

    Jonathan, thanks so much for your generosity.

    You have said many times that it’s easy to work and make money on something when your passion aligns with a need in the market. But what if you don’t have a passion? I am much more passionate about the life I want to lead (be my own boss, location indepdendet, etc.) than what kind of work I do. I do know the things in life that I spend the most time doing and thinking about – health and physical fitness, but I am completely baffled on how to start. What would be a good first step or two?


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Mary – I have said it’s way easier to work hard when you’re passionate about what you do, but it’s not necessarily easy to make money doing it. Sometime it still takes a ton of creativity.

      But, on to your question about finding your passion, check out the link to Pam Slim’s blog a couple of comments up, she’s great at talking about this process.

  92. Aaron Darland says:

    What’s the best way to get on the speaking circuit? I’m an HR specialist that does training about aspects of communication. Do you think I can create enough buzz with good video/webinar? How valuable is advertising on Facebook?

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Aaron – One the most important things for you to do is establish yourself as a go-to person in the HR world with a very well defined, unique message, point of view and tools. You also need to be able to speak really well. And, all this is wrapped around and insane amount of work. There is no shortcut here. Speak anywhere and everywhere to build your skills and exposure and reel and over time, the gigs will get bigger and higher paying. I’d also spend a chunk of time establishing yourself in social media as a thought leader and creating a strong blogging presence.

  93. Jonathan, you are a class act! Thanks so much for your book – I read it three months ago and afterward literally got lost driving home because I was thinking so hard.

    I’m a systems engineer/ex-programmer/ex-database developer who’s really a people person at heart. I became Myers Briggs certified last summer and want to build a blog of info to help people discover their strengths and achieve a happier life through using their strengths in their career instead of focusing on weaknesses. I started a blog (, then didn’t like the look of it and redesigned it. Now I like the design enough to write content and send people there, but I’m stumped on what to write about. How do I figure out what questions people want answers to?

    You start each day tweeting “how can I help you?” For someone unknown, would that work? I feel like people would just (virtually) stare at me with a blank look. I fear just hearing crickets. How do I find out what people are struggling with in their lives that learning about personality types, how to communicate better and build relationships, and how to find a career that works would help? How do I find the questions so I can suggest some answers?

    Thank you for your generous offer. You are a stellar role model.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Wendy – Start with the questions you’ve sought answers to as you’ve gone through your own process. I bet there are a ton. Write them down, make a list.

      Then, go to google’s external keyword tool (its free) and type in some of the keywords people might search on if they wanted to find what you’re offering. You’ll get large lists of phrases that will likely spur a bunch of ideas and also show you which keywords are getting real traffic, meaning, people are interested in them. Then include those in your post headlines and context (in a human, non-robot kinda way).

      You might also think about creating a 3-5 part series or ebook as flagship content to launch with that talks all about what MBTI is, how it works, what problems it solves, what it makes easier, how people can use and how not to use it or get tested

      That should be enough to get you going.

  94. Kevin says:

    Help you figure out how to make money doing silly things……topic….. Well i thought maybe I could squeeze this in:)

    Basically I love to find great places to drive, and I would like to archive the places I drive and then figure out a method to have a community of people publish there favs as well……any thoughts on how I could make money from doing this?

    Any feedback would be sweet….Thanks, and I love your book

  95. Ines says:

    Hi Jonathan, happy late birthday for Career Renegade, it was fantastic and I highly recommend it to friends 🙂

    I hope this is still on time as we’re on different timezones!

    I want to help a traditionally change resistant and ‘techno-resistant’ charitable sector streamline their operations through use of web-based technology.

    Do you have any advice on easing them in and gentle persuasion techniques to get them to change their ways and buy into this improvement for them even though it’s a technology based solution? Of course we’ll be creating something putting usability at the forefront of our minds!

    Thank you very much!! 🙂

  96. Rachel says:

    Hi Jonathan! Thanks for this great and generous offer.

    My friend and I recently have begun starting our own business. The idea is to generate enough profit through freelancing journalism to fund a non-profit project that does mini-documentaries on innovative non-profits around the world and to fund the cash necessary to travel for the non-profit project. The non-profit would have a website with a blog and a place for featuring our latest project.

    We’re in the process of starting the company (which we named Impactivity Ventures) and the non-profit project (which we named Project Impactivity).

    I have three questions:
    1) What do you think of our idea? Is it innovative? Feasible?

    2) What resources do you know of that try to mix non-profit/for-profit sectors? Right now we’re thinking of starting a business and non-profit as separate entities, but I didn’t know if any other hybrid forms existed.

    3) What are crucial steps for getting such a project off the ground and for its success? I’ve read how-tos about both freelancing and starting companies, but I want your opinion about what’s most important to do well, and in what way.

    Thanks so much for any and all help. I bought Career Renegade last week and am half-way finished!

    Rachel Puckett

  97. Hi Jonathan, and congrats on your anniversary! You have rocked it out this week – so many great questions and really, really smart answers!

    I have a client who is an artisan chocolatier who made these awesome peace doves that interlock together and fit into a clear plastic box. One is dark chocolate and the other is white chocolate. The package insert has an augmented reality marker on it, that when held up to the web cam, plays a message about PEACE.

    My client wanted to send this as a gift to President Obama. Any ideas on how to do that???

    Thank you for your answer to this or any other random answer you may have with regards to marketing the Peace Dove/Chocolate concept.


  98. […] is not only about valentines (and chocolate), its also Heart and Stroke month. Inspired by Career Renegade Jonathan Fields, I’d like to share the love this month by dedicating my blogging time and energy to […]