By: Derek Doepker
A few years ago, if you would have told me I’d be a writer, I would have called you crazy. Never would I imagine writing books, much less publishing bestselling books, would be my future calling. But today, I can’t imagine anything else.
In 2011, I arrived in Los Angeles with dreams of making it as a rock star guitar player after getting my degree in music. My reality was a little less glamourous. I was sleeping on an air mattress each night, working as a valet parker, and selling off just about every possession I had to pay the rent.
In my desperation to not sell of my prized guitars, I sought out ways to earn extra income doing something I loved – sharing the insights I had gained over nine years in the world of health and fitness as well as personal development.
Just one problem…
While I knew I could start a blog or create a training course to help others with my expertise, I was plagued with self-doubt. “Who am I to write or share anything? I’m just a wannabe struggling musician.”
I didn’t yet have the identity of a writer. I didn’t see myself as an expert or authority. I didn’t believe my voice mattered.
Fortunately, there was one thing that shifted all of that. I learned a critical lesson through my pursuit of personal development. The lessons was this, “People don’t buy what you say, they buy how you say it.”
Thankfully this lesson finally sank in when I started having friends and family come to me for advice. I thought, “Why do people want to hear what I have to say? They can just go read a book from someone smarter than me.” Then it clicked. Just like the way I play guitar is unique to me, the way I express myself and speak is unique to me. People don’t just want to know what to do, they want my perspective. They want my voice on a topic.
This meant I didn’t have to be the world’s greatest writer. I just had to share what I have learned in the best way I know how. So I started a blog, created a fitness training course, and wrote a 350+ page masterpiece book sure to change the world.
All my hard work paid off. After sharing my writing with my friends and family, I was delighted to see almost no sales come in. Ok, so maybe I wasn’t delighted at that time. Looking back though I’m delighted because it was this setback that was ultimately a setup for my big breakthrough.
With a series of blog articles and books that almost no one read, what I was given was a glimpse of hope. I would have just one person read an article I wrote and tell me it helped them. I would have one stranger buy a copy of my book and email me saying it improved their life. While not big accomplishments, these little victories were a glimmer of hope that, just maybe, I do have something the world needs to hear. Just maybe what I’m doing is making a difference.
I thought, while I might not be reaching a lot of people, what I do may be making all the difference for at least one person. I have to keep going. I have to help more people. I have to share my message with just a few more people who need to hear what I have to say the way I have to say it.
My commitment to figure out how to reach just one more person led me on a relentless quest to study marketing and sales. After a lot of trial and error, in December 2012, I published a book 50 Fitness Tips You Wish You Knew and it went on to become a #1 bestseller. Since then, I’ve published seven bestselling books including “Break Through Your BS” and “Why You’re Stuck”, and I coach authors all around the world on the principles of self-publishing success.
It’s not the skills and tactics alone though that made all the difference in my writing career though. My success came when I stopped letting the label of “musician” limit me and saw I could be so much more. It was when I stopped judging my own work as insignificant and honored that others my want to hear what I have to say, even I don’t yet feel confident in my voice. It was when I said, “I’m going to risk rejection and failure time and time again and it’s all worth it to reach the one person who needs what I have to offer.”
Looking back, I realize I was writing more than just books during my time of struggle. I was writing my “before and after” story that you’re reading right now. Without the struggles, the success wouldn’t be so sweet.
Derek Doepker is founder of ExcuseProof.com and bestselling fitness and personal development author. He coaches aspiring authors how on how find their voice, overcome self-doubt, and boldly share their expertise with the world. You can find his books including his newest book Break Through Your BS on Amazon.com