The fact is that those were recorded and then sent to my editor, who basically had them transcribed and put them into sort of more conversational flow for me to then go ahead and tweak.
Looking back on it, I probably should’ve done more of the dictation and that kind of flow of things, rather than less tapping away on keys. So that was the first kind of learning point.
The toughest part of this whole thing was not, actually looking back, it wasn’t actually writing it. Even though it was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be, it wasn’t the writing of the book.
It was the editing of the book that really kicked my ass because I was contracted to do 45,000 words by my publisher, and I told him right at the gate, “It’s not enough for this book, you’re going to get more than that.” “OK, well do you what you think is right, and we’ll just look at page count, and edit.” “OK great.”
So I submitted almost 70,000 words. It then got cut down to just over 61,000. And that’s what we finished with. But there’s a huge resource section in there, there’s tools splattered throughout the entire book as you know as well.
So I wanted to add all these things in there, which are going to be really actionable, which I did some of when I was writing, but a lot of, within the editing format.
Man, I think we went through 4 different edits on the book before the manuscript was actually approved by the publisher to go to print. So, the editing was the side of it that really kind of, it just seem like it was dragging on and on and on. It was tough man. I’d be frank with you, that was the toughest part of the entire process.
Now if I had self-published, I would have had obviously the book edited. But I don’t think it would have been as painful as the task as it was going through a traditional publisher.
James: Yeah. I’ve basically taken one of my courses and had it transcribed and had it edited, and it’s close to being done. But I hadn’t had to type a single word, which is…
Chris: I love that.
James: Yeah, definitely the way to go. Now, let’s get back really on the topic of this book and the core of it. Firstly, you’ve done a few podcasts and interviews and that led up to the book and the launch of the book right?
That one question
James: What was the one question you’d really wish someone had asked but they never did and you really had something to say about something?
Chris: That’s really good question right there in itself actually. I think nobody actually asked me what I wanted the book to do long term.
James: Chris, what do you want the book to do long term?
Chris: It so looks staged now, but I’ll take it anyway. I mean I wrote the book to change the mindset of the generation of entrepreneurs that have been led to believe by a society that the definition of success is working yourself into either a hospital bed or a freakin’ coffin, you know what I mean.
I was that micro-managing, 16 hour-a day, 7-day a week, stressed-out entrepreneur, suffering from the superhero syndrome that I talked about inside the book. That was me.
In 2009, I hit a brick wall, burned out, and was absolutely no good to anybody for anything. And that’s when I put the plan in place. To really remove myself from the business by the end of 2010, and that’s exactly what I did.
So what I guess I’m trying to do with the book for the long term is really to get people thinking about, genuinely sitting down and thinking about how they’re running and growing their businesses. Should they be doing everything that they are doing day-to-day from a business owner’s perspective?
If the answer to that is no, then delegate it to somebody else, and focus on the stuff that you should be doing. And I mean that’s what I did, and I now work a 4-day work week, not a 4-hour work week, but I work a 4-day work week. I have done for over 3 years.
I do no longer work Fridays. I have a 3-day weekend, and I love it, and so does my family. And I work maybe 8-9 hours a day. That’s because I enjoy what I do. I enjoy being around my team, I enjoy working on my blog, on my podcast and the rest of it. I know you work a lot less than that.
James: Yeah, it’s a choice now, you know.
Chris: It is, yeah.
James: I bumped into my friendly surf instructor out the front here today. Every day he just looks at me, yesterday he said, “I want your job ‘cause you’re out here more than I am.” And I said, “At least you get paid.”
And then today, he goes, “You really are the definition of a local, you’re in the water every time I come here, this is your patch.” I said, “It is my patch.” And then I went up to the girl that he was instructing and I said, “This guy is the best surf instructor in the world. He taught me to surf just last week.”
And then I paddle off and catch a great wave and disappear. And it’s true actually. He did teach me to surf last week. It’s the first lesson I’ve ever had.
Chris: That’s great.
James: He can’t figure out why I’m always out there. I’m like a fish. And that’s the way I want. I want to wake up, have breakfast, surf, check emails, have lunch, do some content, surf, have dinner, watch a movie, go to bed. I’m happy with that day, and really the message of the book is, it’s a guide.
If you want to do that, you can implement because you’ve revealed probably for the first time ever, and I haven’t really taught this outside very closed groups.
But you’ve revealed what you can actually expect from people, who you would need, what their job roles might look like, how much you would have to pay them, where you would find them, what tools you’re going to use, and what you have to contribute, and how you hold it all together.
And I think that that’s the most comprehensive guide that I’ve ever seen on the topic. I love that you recognize these people are humans and not robots.
At the same time as helping people understand they don’t have to be workaholic, I think you’ve also explained to people that they have to do something.
At some point, especially in the beginning, you’re going to have to put in a little bit of effort for that payoff, and to get to the phase that I’m at. It’s only taken me 4 years. But I’ve gotten there through continual progress, and I might add, 10 visits to my team.
Chris: See that right there, that’s game changes stuff right there. That’s what every business owner that’s working with virtual staff here in the Philippines should do. Maybe not 10 times in 4 years.
James: No, absolutely go and visit them face to face at least once. You will double whatever you’re getting. Once you’re real. Because culturally I think, they’re a little bit scared.
And when they can put a real person to you and they realize you’re human and not a scary robot, then I think that makes everyone have a better relationship.
Chris: Yeah. You’re doing it right. And thank you, for saying all the kind things that you said on the show about the book. You are one of the guys that I genuinely follow. You know this. I’m a big James fan myself.
That’s because you don’t talk BS, you give it straight and the value that you provide for your audience is second to none. So to have you say those nice things about something that I really put blood, sweat, and tears into for well over a year, it means a lot to me man. So I appreciate it.
James: That’s alright. And I want to see this book go well because having a team of 50, I can read through that book and I can agree or disagree with everything in there, and I could say that this book is as close to how I would have liked to have I been able to write a book if I was doing one on that topic.
So you’ve done a great job. Now, is there a message that you really think should be put across if someone were to listen to this podcast, obviously the action step today is go and buy the book. That’s the action step.
But is there something else that you would like to add on that would really enhance the value from someone listening to this conversation.
A message from Chris
Chris: Yeah there is. It never ceases to amaze me how many people skip over this. But right at the beginning of the book, and you’ll see when you get it, there’s an exercise that I asked everybody to do, which is called “3 Lists to Freedom” exercise.
And that’s just something that I did myself when I hit that wall back in 2009. I didn’t realize it at the time, I didn’t give it a name at the time, but now it’s called “3 Lists to Freedom,” ‘cause it’s actually what it did to me.
And I sat down and I put those three lists together, and I talked about how to do it properly in the book and walk you through it and a lot of stuff.
But it still never cease to amaze me when I meet up with people that I’ve spoken with before, I presented in front of the conferences, or they’ve heard me on podcast, and they’ve heard me talk about “3 Lists to Freedom” exercise, and they say, “You know I just don’t know where to get started.”
I don’t know where to get started, I don’t know what to outsource, I don’t know who to outsource to. And I always ask the question, “Have you done your 3 Lists to Freedom?” “No, I haven’t had the chance yet.” Well, that’s where it all begins, as far as I’m concerned.
So that would be my last piece of advice on this. If you do pick up the book, thank you. But more importantly, do your bloody 3 Lists to Freedom, because I come back to those exercises over and over and over and over again throughout the course of the entire 300 pages in the book because it’s that darn important.
James: Oh and just to add some weight to that, in my business, in fact in my highest level mastermind, we have something a 4% activity checklist, which is very similar. And we do it every 12 weeks, and it’s how you continually make refinements or recalibrate.
What are you focusing on, what shouldn’t you be touching at all. And using that, I’ve ratcheted myself away from the things that I suck at or I don’t want to do.
And then I’m only doing stuff I love. I love talking to you so that’s fun, as much as a Filipino loves getting a nice “pasalubong.” How did I go?
Chris: That was good, that was bang-on mate. You’ve been practicing. I like it.
James: Oh yeah. I’ve been practicing. Those little stuffed koalas keep piggy-backing me so I can take them through countries.
Chris: I bet they go a long way here for sure.
James: Yeah. I’m going to give a tip too, alright. How about that? Extra value here. If you have a staff member in another country, please, actually have a conversation with them and find out a few words in their own language.
Be interested in them because it stuns me, occasionally when I speak to someone and they might have had a team member for a year or two, and never once spoken to them on Skype, not know a single word, and have no idea where they live, nothing.
And just that little act of finding out will get you a long way down the track to starting that relationship that’s going to grow your business and get something really good happening.
So, thanks for coming along to the show Chris. I think it’s the first time I’ve interviewed you on SuperFastBusiness, and it certainly won’t be the last.
Chris: It is. It is the first time. And it was all my pleasure mate. I very much appreciate it.
James: You have produced a wonderful book. So head along to Virtual Freedom, and it has a really long extra title, what is it?
Chris: It’s “Virtual Freedom: How To Work With Virtual Staff To Buy More Time, Become More Productive And Build Your Dream Business.”
James: Yeah, and it’s an easy read. I read it in one session. It was easy to whip through and it’s all laid out nice and clear. So thanks very much.
We will catch up and find out what happened on stage 2 if you’re publishing this. For all those publishers and experts out there interested in going through this process, I’d love to get the goods on that one.
Chris: Yeah, it would be my pleasure.
James: Thanks Chris!
Chris: All right, mate!
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