The Janine Bolon Show with Jeff Borschowa - 99 Authors Project, Season 3, Episode 3

The 99 Authors Project – Season 3 – Episode 3 with Jeff Borschowa

Jeff Borschowa

Jeff Borschowa is a business coach, author, educator, and curator of all things related to business efficiency and technology.  Jeff first joined the accounting world in 1991 and has spent the bulk of his career working with and advising small to medium-sized enterprises.  Jeff has experience working with all sizes of businesses, from sole proprietorship to international organizations.  The focus in Jeff’s career has been to find new and better ways to integrate innovation and technology to enhance the customer experience and improve efficiency in businesses.

Jeff  has met some very innovative mentors in his career. Jeff has been very fortunate to be in a position to learn from them, compare their ideas, and to truly choose the best of the best.  Jeff would like nothing more than to free business owners from the stress created by high volume commodity work, allowing them the freedom to pursue work that is rewarding personally and professionally.

Jeff’s overall goal is to reduce the hours worked by business owners and increase overall profitability.  In Jeff’s experience, almost every business owner can tell you how much their gross revenue is, but very few know what their actual costs are.  Jeff challenges you to learn more about your business so that you can bid on the right kinds of projects and earn what you are worth – your education should be your most valued possession.

Transcript of the Show

Bryan Hyde
Welcome to the Janine Bolon show, where we share tips from around the globe. As we guide practical people with their finances using money tips, increase their incomes through side businesses, and maintain their sanity by staying in their creative zone.

Janine Bolon
Hello, and welcome to the show. You may or may not know this, but the Janine Bolon show is the syndicated program of four podcasts shows which were combined in October of 2021. My team and I merged all four podcasts into that one private program just for you. And up to that point, we had been running four separate podcasts called The Three Minute Money Tips, The Thriving Solopreneur, The Writers Hour Creative Conversations, and The Practical Mystic Show. Today, we will be highlighting one of the 99 authors that we’re interviewing over the course of this year, to receive their guidance and perspective on how you can get your message, your story or your memoir out into the world. Now many of you have been told you should write a book about your life experience. I mean, these 99 authors that I’m interviewing over the course of this year, were all prompted to write their own stories as well. Now each one of you will tell us what’s going on with the writing, and then each one will share what worked when they were selling their books, what didn’t work, things they wish they had known before they ever became published authors. So today is Jeff Borschowa, and he is a business coach, author, educator, and a curator of all things related to business efficiency and technology. So my thriving solopreneurs listen up, Jeff just joined the accounting world in 1991, and has spent the bulk of his career working with and advising small to medium sized enterprises. Jeff has experienced working with all sizes of business, from sole proprietorship to those huge international organizations. Now, the focus of Jeff’s career has been to find new and better ways to integrate innovation and technology to enhance not only the customer experience, but also to improve the efficiency of the business. So his overall goal is to reduce the hours that are worked by business owners and increase their overall profitability. Oh, Wouldn’t that just be delightful? Right? So, Jeff is the one that has the experience with almost every business owner, who will tell you how much their growth revenue is. But very few of those business owners can tell you the actual costs. So, Jeff challenges you to learn more about your business so that you can bid on the right kinds of projects, earn what you are worth, and as we all know, your education should be your most valued possession. Hey, welcome to the show, Jeff.

Jeff Borschowa
Well, thank you very much for having me, Janine, always a pleasure.

Janine Bolon
Yeah, I just think it’s important that people know how we came to know each other. And that was in 2020, when everybody was throwing themselves online, you and I were like, hey, thanks for joining our party. We’ve been online since 2015, or even earlier. And so I remember when you and I found each other, it was just a totally good fit for the way that I worked with money, the way you worked with CPAs, and Jeff started referring so many people to me, I actually had to ask him to stop, because he had totally overflowed my calendar that is the type of very much a very big giver. He is a very generous business owner, and so with that being the business, we’re going to talk about the author side of you now, because most people have you as the business owner instead of the author. So tell us, what’s your full name?

Janine Bolon
My name is Jeff Borschowa.

Janine Bolon
There we go. And one of the things that I always love asking people is, do you write under a pen name or a different name?

Jeff Borschowa
I actually write under my real name. Everything I write is nonfiction. So it just made sense to me to use my real name.

Janine Bolon
Right. Because that’s a big thing. A lot of authors, some of them, especially if they write fiction struggle, should I use my real name? Can I hide behind a pen name? Because it’s very challenging to be out there. Did you find that being a business owner made it easier for you to just use your real name?

Jeff Borschowa
Absolutely. I think, you know, I was using the books to get business. So, it just made sense for me to do it using my full name. And, you know, there’s some pros and cons to it. But for me, I’m using my books to open doors, so, it just made the most sense to have my name on it. So when the doors opened, it was an easy introduction to me not, oh, by the way that was a pen name.

Janine Bolon
That’s true. So out of curiosity, did you have a marketing background before you started writing your book?

Jeff Borschowa
I did not have a marketing background. I’m a recovering accountant. So I have a lot of experience with business. But I didn’t really think about marketing in the traditional sense. And I definitely didn’t think about how would I market the book. My first book I wrote, it was sort of one of those, if I write it, people will read it moments, and then I quickly learned I had to get good at marketing from there, so.

Janine Bolon
So, what most surprised you about the book marketing process, I mean, after you published your book?

Jeff Borschowa
I think the biggest thing, the first book I published, I actually paid a publisher, and I paid them to market it. And I think the thing that amazed me was just how bad they were at it, you know, these publishing houses. You know, at the end of the day, they really don’t care about your book, they care about their portfolio of books. And the other thing, I think that surprised me the most was a lot of generic advice, and no real thought to the genre of the book, is it fiction, nonfiction? What category of book it is? So, I think what surprised me the most was just the randomness of the advice that I got, and how I had to take a lot of that advice and figure out how it applied to me specifically.

Janine Bolon
I think you bring up a very good point, I’ve heard this from more than one author, that even the book cover, the way your book is marketed, and the cover of the book has to be in alignment with that genre, because your readers are actually looking for that. And those are things that blew them away, you know, when they first started. So, thank you for mentioning, hey, your genre is going to dictate that advice that you need. So, make sure you’re in that right field when you’re getting that. So, okay, if you started to market your book today. Say you had a clean slate, what are some changes that you would have made knowing what you know, now, when it comes to marketing today?

Jeff Borschowa
I think the biggest thing, and I will caveat this with my nonfiction background, because I write nonfiction and I promote things to a specific audience. If I had learned this before, I would definitely focus on the strategic relationships first. So, who else works with my ideal reader? Who else has problems they need to solve? And honestly, I’d collaborate with them more and get their feedback because I wrote my book thinking, okay, I’m going to solve the problems from my point of view of the people, I think are reading it. But if you engage some strategic partners, you know, software companies that reach your audience, if you can find other people and solve the problems they have, I think that’s probably what I would do. First and foremost, is just have a little bit more industry dialogue.

Janine Bolon
And that is incredibly how helpful whether you’re a fiction or nonfiction. If you’re a fictional author, and you think, well, I don’t know where to put that. Believe it or not, your readers are not just reading your genre, there are other areas that they’re focused in on that you can definitely make use of. So, what worked best for you, when you first started selling your books? I mean, how did you sell your most books like, what worked?

Jeff Borschowa
Honestly, this is gonna sound a little counterintuitive, so bear with me. But what worked was when I realized I didn’t actually care how many books I sold. And that might sound a little bit strange. But again, I deal in the nonfiction world, I help people, my favorite topic is networking and growing your business through networking. So, the thing that worked, the best for me was to teach people, the concepts in the book and really focus on serving the people that would be my ideal readers. And as I gave away a lot of my information, I started getting people asking for copies of the books. The other thing that worked well for me, and this was a real surprise, it honestly came to me by accident. I found other people sponsors who would buy my book in bulk, and then give it to their connections. So it wasn’t about you know, I never wanted to be New York Times bestseller. I didn’t anticipate ever becoming, you know, best seller in that sense. But for me, if one book leads to a client down the road, then that is well spent energy and time in the book. But also for me, it’s about getting speaking gigs, and that’s where I found a lot of, you know, sponsors who are willing to buy the book in bulk and hand it out. It’s usually the next step. is getting booked to speak at one of their conferences, whether it’s virtual or live.

Janine Bolon
Right, that was one of the things that 2020 has definitely taught us whether it’s virtual or live, you can still ship that book to their house, and they’re sitting there on the summit. And everybody’s flashing the cover of your book as you get on to speak, that’s always been fun for me to see that happen. You’re like, whoa, cool. So, tell us about the process that you tried, and it was just an epic failure at selling your books.

Jeff Borschowa
Honestly, I think my first book would be that example where I paid someone else. And I didn’t pay them a lot of money, which was probably part of the problem, I was one of their small clients. But I tried to do everything myself. And I think that was a real eye opener, because, you know, I realized that people didn’t care about me and me wanting to write the book, what they cared about was their problems. And so, I’ve gotten a lot better at focusing on the problems I solve, rather than, you know, my credentials. So I think that the biggest, in terms of failure, my first book, I think I made $30, the first year off of it. Now, having said that, that book also opened a lot of doors, and I learned quickly from that lesson that it was the desire to solve the problems that got me to talk to the people I needed, rather than my desire to sell books.

Janine Bolon
Right, exactly. So what story, you know, we we have a lot of storytelling that we do whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction doesn’t matter. So, what is the story that you tell about yourself that gets the most laughs from your target audience?

Jeff Borschowa
Well, I think the short answer is I do tell people, I am a recovering accountant, and usually, that’s enough to make people laugh, because they can envision it. But honestly, I share the path I took to becoming a successful accountant, and how I spent a lot of time and energy trying to sell accounting services. And it still baffles a lot of people today, because they think that an accountant sells accounting services. But for me, the big aha moment was the day I realized I actually sold peace of mind. And that was very enlightening for me, because all of a sudden, I was no longer chasing people saying, you know, trying to sell accounting services, I was looking to people saying, how can I help you? So, for me that was the big change. And again, it’s hard to get laughs out of an accounting audience, but when you tell them, you’re recovering accountant, that’s always good for at least one laugh.

Janine Bolon
Right? You always have somebody in the back giggling because they can picture it, they know exactly what you’re talking about. So, what’s the biggest change that you’ve seen in yourself since you started marketing your books?

Jeff Borschowa
Honestly, I think that the absolute biggest change has been the focus on my readers, as opposed to when I first wrote, the first book I ever wrote, I wrote it because I was tired of watching people do really stupid things with technology, and I wanted to help them. And it was sort of this cautionary, hey, stop. But, you know, honestly, Janine, it was written as a step by step how to, and I think I was way too serious. I think, as I’ve tried to get a little more mature as an author, as I’ve grown in my writing, I think the biggest change is I try to tell better stories. You know, my first book, it’s almost embarrassing, I look back and there’s pages of bullet points. Step one, do this. Step two, do this. Now it’s more about, the mindset and understanding of why you would want to change. And then once you’ve gotten into that mindset, then here’s some things you can do to change. But it’s not as boring and prescriptive. It’s now more about the story and why people should want to change.

Janine Bolon
And this is what we solve. Here’s that peace of mind that you’re seeking. Okay, well, you’ve written so many books, and we’ll get into some of those in a minute. But what are some of the top five tips that you would give authors about selling their books?

Jeff Borschowa
So, the first tip I would have would be, it’s not about you, it’s about your audience. So whatever you’re doing, whether you’re fiction, nonfiction, make it about the audience and why their life is better for having read your book. So, if it’s a lovely romp through vampires, and witchcraft, and wizardry, then that’s fine. But if you’re in nonfiction, really start with your why, and why you want to help them. So, that’s my first tip. Second tip, I think, really, truly and this is something I’ve learned in the last couple of years, is have a plan for the book from the beginning, like what is my outcome of the book? Is it just to sell the book? And I think that’s where I’ve realized the biggest thing is, you know, there should be a podcast, there should be other things, there should be coaching, consulting, whatever it is, but plan that out before you write the book, and use the book to help your ideal client understand what life would be like working with you. Number three, and this might scare some people. My first book is very clinical and dry, and I say that, not embarrassed, I was an accountant when I wrote it, so you get what you get. But really focus on bringing your audience into your world and letting them know who you are. So, my first couple of books, there’s no personality in there, it’s just, here’s a bunch of facts, you know, I might as well have just listed off the pages of the yellow pages, it was very, very, very dry. So, tip three would be put your personality into it, no matter what you’re doing. Tip four, I think is again, start with your audience in mind and find ways that you can engage your audience in the book, but what other value can you add to them outside of the book? And just as an example of that, Bob Burg with the Go Giver, he has a Go Giver community where people can share ideas and things like that. So, build out that community. And I think number five tip would be have some fun with it. You know, like, how do I say this? Don’t rinse, repeat and copy what the person next to you did, or in front of you did. What could you do, in whether it’s in your community, physically or online? What could you do to really stand out and show your quirkiness? So those would be my big five.

Janine Bolon
And I have to agree with number five. I mean, I agree with all your tips. But number five is definitely where you shine as an individual. Authors, we’re a little quirky, we wake up early in the morning, we stay up until two, three in the morning, writing alone, we do this voluntarily. You know, we’re a little quirky.

Jeff Borschowa
Quirky is a good word.

Janine Bolon
It is, and let that shine. So, tell us a little bit about like, what is the one thing you most misunderstood about being or becoming an author because like me, you and I came from disciplines, we came from a training, or a mindset and being an author was the part time gig. So, what was the one thing you most misunderstood about being an author?

Jeff Borschowa
I think honestly, I didn’t expect how much it would change me as a human being. And I think from that, you know, initially I came from a professional background where, what did I have to contribute to the world in terms of writing a nonfiction about accounting. But what it really allowed me to do, and I love this, and I never thought of this at the beginning, was to truly explore my own voice, and figure out what I love to help people with and how I could do it. So, it really, again, being a recovering accountant, it really allowed me to find that unique voice and not worry about you know what my peers think of this because again, the first book I wrote was for my peers and colleagues. Now I write for the general public.

Janine Bolon
Makes a big difference, a big change. So, what would you say is the primary thing that was your biggest reward about being able to call yourself an author because just because you published a book, not everybody considers themselves an author. But when you really took the label of I am an author on, what was your biggest reward?

Jeff Borschowa
Honestly, it was the community of other authors. And I’ve always loved books. I’ve always been an avid reader. And I always felt I was somewhat outside, you know, what do I have to contribute? But being able to call myself an author, I now have a very disturbing number of friends, who are all published authors. And so the biggest perk for me and this is nerd heaven, I get to read the advanced copies of people’s books before it gets all neat, and published, and edited. And I can see the rough thoughts as they’re being sketched out. So, to me, it’s just the community of authors has been amazing.

Janine Bolon
That’s lovely. Well, that said, Jeff has answered our 13 questions and has got more information in store for you believe it or not, with his most recent book that he’s just had published. Tell us about your most recent work there, Jeff.

Jeff Borschowa
My most recent one, it’s called How to Grow Your Business by Leveraging Key Strategic Partnerships. A little bit of a mouthful, but basically the subtitle is Learn How to Attract Your Ideal Clients Without Getting Any Better at Marketing or Sales. And this was an aha moment for me because for years, I’ve taught business owners how to get better at marketing, how to get better at sales. And the aha moment I had was if they just got better at communicating their value and talking to people and building relationships, it’s so much easier to grow a business.

Janine Bolon
Cool. Well, thank you so much for your time today as our spotlighted author, Jeff.

Jeff Borschowa
Thank you as always Janine, it is a pleasure.

Janine Bolon
And this is Janine Bolon signing off with you today and all of us here at the eight gates that produces the Janine Bolon show. We wish you a wonderful week, and we encourage you to get your message, your story, or your knowledge out into this world and make it a better place just like these authors are doing with their work, and they’re helping those newly published authors that are coming along behind them. We’ll see you again next week. And until then, keep sharing what you know with others, keep shining that light that is you and don’t forget to go out today, and you know what? Just do something fun. We’ll see you next week.

Bryan Hyde
Thank you for listening to the Janine Bolon show. Be sure to subscribe to our show notes by going to www.theJanineBolonshow.com, where you’ll find additional resources as well as the opportunity to sign up to receive our program in your email each week. Be sure to visit our sponsor at www.the8gates.com.

 

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