How to write a business book

Have you ever wondered what goes into writing a book? In today’s episode, I am joined by Sarah Megginson, ghost-writer and editor, as we chat about the process that we went through together to create and bring to life, my bestselling book, Intentional Profit.

In this Episode:

04.02: What is a ghost-writer?

14.50: How Sarah helped me figure out what my first book should be (instead of the one we originally started writing)

17.23: The process to write a business book (let’s balance those expectations!)

30:54: Sarah’s take on what Intentional Profit is all about and who it appeals to.

Links:

Guest Bio

I’m a journalist, ghost-writer and editor with 20 years experience. I specialise in writing about property and money, but my claim to fame is really outside the box: I wrote the copy on the back of the Cheezels packet! I’ve also ghost-written and have structurally edited around 30 non-fiction books, and can’t wait to put pen to paper on my own book one day soon.

Sarah Megginson LinkedIn >
Sarah Megginson Instagram >

 

Transcript

If you’ve ever wondered about what goes into writing a book, you are going to love today’s episode of the podcast. Today I have on a very special guest, Sarah Megginson, who is a ghostwriter and editor. And in today’s episode, we chat about the process that we went through together to create and bring to life my bestselling book, Intentional Profit.

If you haven’t already pre-ordered your copy, you can do so via the link in the show notes for today’s episode or by going to my website, www.clarewood.com/intentionalprofit.

I am also really excited to share that tickets for the book tour are now available. The first event is taking place in Brisbane on the 17th of March. And again, you can grab your tickets to the live event by the link in the show notes for today’s episode. It would be awesome to meet you there. I will be announcing further stops being Sydney and Melbourne at a later stage, but if you are in Brisbane or keen to attend the Brisbane event, make sure you grab your tickets now via the link in the show notes for today’s episode.

 

All right. Let’s dive in and get chatting to Sarah about the process of creating a business book. Welcome to the podcast, the one, the only, the fabulous Sarah Megginson.

SARAH:

Oh, what an introduction.

CLARE:

It’s so exciting to have you here to be talking all about the book, the process that we’ve gone through, but also just because I love talking to you on the journey of getting to the place of finishing this book off. I think we’ve become really great friends and I’m really excited to chat to you today. So, thank you for coming along.

SARAH:

Oh, yay. Thank you. I’m so happy to be here too.

CLARE:

Well, maybe we might kick off. Can you do a quick intro to the listeners of who you are and what you do?

SARAH:

Yes, so I am a journalist. I’ve been a journalist for 20 years. And about 12 years ago, I accidentally fell into ghostwriting. So I was a property journalist at the time, and a publisher reached out to me, her name’s Lisa Messenger, now one of my really… Friends. She reached out to me because she wanted someone to help her write a property book. I had never written a book before, but I thought, “Let’s give it a whirl. I can write, let’s see how I go.” And that kick-started things a dozen years ago. I’ve now written more than 30 books or I’ve ghostwritten more than 30 books for a number of different people, some high-profile people that I’m not allowed to disclose, and some just really awesome, everyday, regular, amazing people who have interesting stories to tell. So, yeah. It’s been quite a wild journey and I love, love, love just being trusted with someone to help them tell their story.

CLARE:

That’s so cool. So let’s talk about ghostwriting, because I have been sharing to my Instagram stories on the journey that I’m working with you as a ghostwriter, and I had some very interesting comments come through. Someone asked me if you channeled ghosts, and someone else said to me, “I thought you were writing the book.” So maybe in your words, if you could explain what a ghostwriter is, that would be amazing.

SARAH:

Yes, I wish I channeled ghosts. I’m so spiritual. I love all that stuff, so I wish that was part of the first. But a ghostwriter, the reason it’s called a ghostwriter is because I literally don’t exist in the end product. When this book is out on the shelves, it is written by Clare Wood, it’s got nothing to do with me. I’m the… If I ever get credited on a book, it’s usually as the editor because that’s essentially what I do. I’m taking all of your gold, and all of your knowledge, and wisdom, and messages, and everything that you want to share with people, and I’m just helping you put it in the most digestible possible package, I guess. So I’m a ghostwriter because I don’t exist and I’m there to… Yeah, I don’t know how to say it in a really succinct way. I need a ghostwriter to explain it for me.

I don’t know. I have had some funny reactions to it over the years, and some people say to me, “Don’t you want the credit?” And I’m like, “But it’s not mine.” It’s like, “It’s not my words. It’s not my message. I’m just helping you get your message out there.” And I guess being a journalist for so long probably prepped me so well for it, because I was just very used to interviewing people. I’m naturally very, very curious. So I was used to interviewing people, figuring out what their story is, and then writing an article about it and presenting it to people in a way that makes it interesting, and everyone has such unique stories.

I can remember meeting someone once, it was business meeting and we’d caught up. It was the first time meeting in person, we’d known each other for quite a few years online, and Zooms, and stuff, but we were finally meeting in person. And within about four minutes we were sitting down and then he start talking about your family, “Yeah, I’ve got kids. And what about you?” “Oh, yeah. Long-term girlfriend.” I said, “How long?” And he said, “Seven years.” And I was, “Oh, but still no ring. Why?” And then I went, “Oh my gosh, [inaudible 00:05:52]. Sorry, I should rein that in a little bit.” But that kind of explains I am very, very curious and nosy, and want to know people’s stories all the time. So this is such a perfect job for me because I get to dig into the weeds of people’s lives and then help them turn it into something interesting for other people to learn from.

CLARE:

Yeah, I love that. And it’s like a copywriter. I know a lot of people have a lot of shame about working with a copywriter, and of course, some people flick articles and things, and just go, “Just go write it. I don’t care what it sounds like.” But a lot of people who’ve used copywriters, myself included, to me, it’s always my tone of voice and I hold onto it very, very-

SARAH:

Absolutely.

CLARE:

… carefully, whether I’m using a copywriter or in this process. For me it’s very, very much been, I wanted to have creative control through the whole process. But you just have this magic way, and I know something that we’ve done a lot on the journey is that I’ll say something, and it sounds clunky, and then you just take it and just say exactly the same thing, but better.

SARAH:

Well, thank you. Thank you. I think it’s really weird because I have literally wanted to be a writer since I was little. When I was five or six, I used to make little stories and I woulds sell them to mom and dad. And writing to me has just been the way I processed the world from being very young. English was always my favorite subject at school, and I’ve just always processed things through writing it. So to me, the words just form in a way that I can’t really explain. I see something and then I’ll just be like, “I can notice a natural rhythm or a cadence in words. I think that’s really what it boils down to. It’s the way a sentence flows or a paragraph flows, that there’s got to be a cadence to it so that your brain naturally rests at a common point or it should be a full stop, or whatever it might be. That’s something that just comes very naturally to me.

So it means that I can do this. And I think that’s why that’s such an interesting way to describe the process, because it’s your words and your concepts, and the whole thing is you, I’m just helping it flow. I’m just helping it become and flow from one thing into the next. And for a lot of people that I work with, I’ve worked with such a range of people, but some are really, really, really smart, high-level multimillionaires, really, really smart and switched on, have had huge success, but they are used to performing in a way where they just chuck out a few ideas and then someone on their team will run with it. So the actual process of taking all of that and getting it into a book form.

I remember working on a book once with this guy who was incredible. He was so smart and he was in business, and he would walk into a room and do a deal that he might make $30 million out of it, and he was talking all about his negotiating strategies and stuff. And to me, it was just amazing being able to get access to this guy and ask him all these incredible questions about, “So how do you negotiate? What do you do here?” And one of the things he taught me that I took away from that book was he said, “In a negotiation, you should always ask for something you don’t want because then it’s really, really easy to give that up, and the other team feels like they’ve got a win.” And it’s so true, I use it with my kids all the time. I’ll say, “I don’t want you to do that. I don’t want you to have Roblox time right now.” Really, I don’t care. Really.

I want them to because I need that time to make dinner or whatever. “I don’t want you to have it. Okay, you know what? If you’re going to have a shower and get ready, you can then have 20 minutes of Roblox while I make dinner.” And they’re like, “Yes, I had a win.” But really, I was happy with that the whole time. So, yeah. I always learned something from people as well. But, yeah. I forgot the beginning of my point, but this process is all about just creating a really good structure and a framework for your words to flow through it.

CLARE:

And making it flow in a sequential and logical way, and I think this is something that people really underestimate, particularly creating any kind of content. But I’ve noticed the difference when you listen to someone’s podcast and they get on, and they’re just going all over the place. If you’re a regular listener to the podcast, I hope that you notice that I put a lot of energy into making sure that there’s a structure and a framework, and that we have an introduction where I set the expectations, I talk about each of the points, and I have a wrap-up rather than just me… I think if I just sat down and spoke, it’d be all over the place. And I think it’s the same with the book. There’s a lot of power in having a logical flow of ideas, clear outcomes and clear steps, action plans, which is, again, the way that we wrote the book was that anyone that picks it up can understand exactly what’s going on and know exactly what the next steps are.

And that was something that we really wanted to do, was make it very, very practical as well. And obviously, you did such an amazing job. I sent the book to the publishing house for the first… It’s called a structural edit, whereas basically they check the flow of the book. And the comment came back, this is the best manuscript I have ever seen. And he didn’t have any structural changes, and I had to go back to them and said, “I thought this was a structural edit.” And they said, “There’s no changes.” They just had a few formatting tweaks and I was just mind-blown. And they said, “This is the difference that it makes working with an expert and why it’s worth investing in.” So what I thought that we would chat about next is why I decided to work with a ghostwriter. So I have started writing, I’d say, maybe three or four books.

I’ve got a folder that’s called book, and there’s a couple of false starts, let’s just say. And what I realized was that it is something like writing a book is easy to push the bottom of the priority list because the reality is, firstly, it’s a lot of time, money, and effort. And when you look at something with a profit lens, which is what I’m all about, the reality is a book in itself is it’s not something that’s a big profit driver, necessarily, unless you’re like Oprah or Obama, or someone. The feedback that I’ve overwhelmingly heard from authors that I know is that it’s a tool that falls into your marketing channel. It’s not something that you’re going to make a ton of money necessarily off the book sales itself. It’s something that adds credibility. So anyway, long story short, it kept getting pushed to the bottom of the barrel.

And my coach at the time, Ruby Lee, was working with a ghostwriter, and I’d never heard of a ghostwriter before. I was like, “What? Tell me all about this.” And then someone else that I know, Erika Cramer, was working with you, and somehow I saw that… I think she tagged you on social media or something. And so I connected with Sarah and thought, “Wow, she’s worked with Erika. Wow, that’s amazing.” And then when I did a bit more into finding out about you, I saw that you’ve written for some amazing people. But also, I loved that you are in finance, and that you, at the time, working for Finder. And this is exactly you understand finance and you get it. And for me, that was really exciting and appealing, and attractive, so I reached out and had a chat. And that’s how it all unfolded there, so-

SARAH:

I think the interesting thing is when you reached out to me, I had just finished Erika’s book. She was amazing. She was incredible to work with. But I got to the end of that process and my job had changed, I’d gone from a very relaxed schedule to a much more full-on role. I was managing people and I had a lot more accountability, and I was earning more money. So I was like, “You know what? I’m going to pull back from any freelancing and ghostwriting now because I just need to focus on my job.” And I was like, “I’m not doing any more books,” and then I got an inquiry. I thought I’m going to take just a year or two off doing books, and then I got an inquiry from you. And I remember thinking that I’m not doing any books unless I really, really vibe with a person, and I think I’m going to learn something from the book. That was my thing.

And I had someone else reach out at the same time who seemed super lovely, but their book is something I had already done five times before. And so I said no to them, and I felt a bit rude, but I was just like, “I’m not taking on books at the moment.” And then I went back to you and I was like, “Yeah, great. Let’s have a chat.” But I think that’s one of those things… I don’t know. Like I said before, I’m a bit spiritual. I’m a bit like, what’s meant to be is meant to be. I saw your website straight away when you inquired. I looked at your website and I was like, “Oh, she’s all about money mindset. That’s so my jam. I’d be excited to work on something like this.” So I decided to have the chat and then here we are, and it happened, and it was amazing.

CLARE:

Well, I’m still grateful.

SARAH:

And also, we should add that we also started writing a whole book that we then discarded. We spent a good nine months on a book that we didn’t continue with.

CLARE:

Yes, and I still want to write that book one day. A few people have asked me because I had told a few of my friends about the original concept, and people are like, “When is that book coming in?” I said, “Well, maybe one day,” but I really appreciate it. But the long and the short of it, we started writing this other manuscript, and Sarah had been following me on social media, and learned a bit more about me personally. And she was like, “This isn’t the right book. This is not your first book.” And as soon as you said it, I almost thought this weight lift off my… I imagine you must have been really nervous coming to me to have that conversation. And it was like, as soon as you said it, I was like, “I agree.” Something about it just wasn’t vibing. It wasn’t the right time, it wasn’t the right book.

SARAH:

I don’t think it was the right way to introduce you as an author to people. That’s the thing too, it’s like a lot of the books that I do are with people who I’ve known for a number of years, or they’ve been clients. I used to have a friend that has copywriting business. So I would write their blogs or their website, copy, and stuff like that. And then after five years of working together, they would say, “I want to do a book. Can you help me?” And that is a little bit of a different experience because I already know them and I know what their vibe is, and I know what it’s going to be, so it’s quite easy to come up with the structure and the flow. But with you, I didn’t know you, so when you came to me with your idea and you’re like, “This is what I would like the hook to be,” and I was like, “Yeah, great.”

And we did spend a good amount of time trying to make that work, but it just felt like putting a square peg in a round hole. And the more I got to know you, and the more I got to know what your beliefs are and what your messages are, and the people you work with, and all of that stuff, I was like, “This doesn’t gel with as your first book, as your introduction to people.” So, yeah. I was really glad when you agreed. Because if you didn’t agree and you were like, “You know what? I just want to plug on with it.” It would’ve been fine and I would’ve kept going, but it just didn’t flow. Every time I would jump into it to try and be like, “Okay, I’m going to work this into shape.” I wasn’t going to get it where I needed it to go, whereas once we transformed it, it took off in a new direction.

CLARE:

100%. It all clicked, didn’t it? So let’s talk a little bit about the process, because people might be thinking, “What’s so hard? Don’t you just sit down and write a bunch…” My kids kept saying, “Are you still writing the book, mom? Are you still writing the book?” So let’s talk a little bit about the process. Over to you.

SARAH:

Yeah, and I totally get it. It can feel like endless ice. But, it’s like doing a renovation. Anyone who has not done a renovation before will be like, “How are you still talking about that renovation? It was just a bathroom, how come it’s not done in three weeks? What are you talking about?” It’s only once you do it you realize that there are so many opportunities for things to turn to shit or that you are waiting on certain things. The creative process of writing a book too, it’s not something you can switch on and off. Obviously I have to because it’s my job, but for you, you are fitting this in around, running a business and being a mom, and being a wife, and having a social life, and having family commitments, and having exercise, and having hobbies. And this whole big life is happening, and you’re trying to fit in a book.

Now I remember years ago, thinking, I should start offering a service where I take someone and I go away for two weeks with them, and we just spend two weeks somewhere locked away from our lives. And I could write a book in two weeks in an intensive way like that. It’s absolutely possible. But then I was like, “Oh, that would just be so painful, to get away from my family for the time, and I’d be emotionally and creatively burnt out at the end of it. I’d need a month to recover.” And I was like, “Okay, that’s a crappy idea.” But you could, you could knock it out like that. And I’ve worked with people before who have… I’ve been ghostwriting with them and they have taken themselves away from their family for a period of time or from their commitments for a period of time to just work on it.

But, yeah. It takes forever because there are so many variables. And a few of the things that have happened with us is we also had a really terrible accident that stopped everything for a short period, and you were literally in a recovery period. Your brain wasn’t firing on all cylinders for us to have. I remember we would have catch-ups and we’d get 20 minutes in, and I’d be like, “All right, let’s pick this up in the morning.” You were just too tired, and you were in actual physical pain, and couldn’t concentrate on what we needed to do. So life gets in the way as well. And it really is like a renovation in the respect that you start thinking we’re going to do this, and then as you write it, and that happened with us, sometimes there were sections that we threw out or we’d be like, “We’re going off on a tangent here.”

It felt right and it felt like the right thing to do, and then the more we’d flesh it out, we’d be like, “No, actually, that’s getting away from the core message of the book or that’s something that the reader doesn’t need to know at this point.” Half of writing a book is working out what not to put in it as well. We could have written twice as much as we did, but you want to take the reader on a journey, and you want to have them start here and end up here. And by the end, they feel like they’ve got all the tools they need to take some action, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with everything you’ve ever learned and ever known, and ever want them to know. That gets exhausting for a reader too. So there’s a lot that goes into it.

CLARE:

Oh, so much. You’ve just summarized it perfectly. There was an entire chapter that we can’t write towards the end of the process because we were looking and we’re like, “Maybe this whole chapter doesn’t need to be there.” And we just both like, “Yep.” It’s gone.

SARAH:

I know. And you have to be a bit brutal. It’s not fun. It’s not fun to do that. There’s a sunk cost that goes into it, which comes back to that first manuscript we wrote. There was a massive sunk cost in there. We’d spent months building it out, so there is that. And I guess that’s one of the benefits too, of working with someone else. If you were doing it by yourself, you’d probably plow on and keep going, and be like, “I’ve already spent a year on this, I have to keep going.” But when you have someone with a bit more of like a critical eye. I would look at that and go, “Yes, that chapter’s amazing.”

And it’s not like it was a bad chapter, there was heaps of great stuff in it, and maybe we’ll use it one day for something else. But it just didn’t fit in the flow of what we were trying to do there. So, yeah. You just have to be a little bit brutal. In writing, we call it kill your darlings, kill your babies. And it’s really hard sometimes, particularly when you’re working on your own book and you’re putting your heart and soul into it, and you’re like, “That was really good,” but it just doesn’t belong so you have to get rid of it, and that’s hard. It’s hard to do.

CLARE:

Oh, 100%. And it’s really hard. The other thing I struggle with a lot was I wanted to give everything away, I wanted to. And a book that big would be enormous and incredibly overwhelming, and a lot of people wouldn’t pick it up and wouldn’t read it, and wouldn’t get the benefit from it. So having to rule things out as well, as hard as it was, was part of the process. Something I’m just laughing about, thinking about the process was, you and I getting sidetracked a little bit.

SARAH:

Oh, yes.

CLARE:

So, anyone who knows me-

SARAH:

A little bit. A little bit.

CLARE:

… knows that I love to chat. I love to have a chat.

SARAH:

As do I. That’s the thing is we actually genuinely became friends through this process. So we would start a chat with like, “How are the kids?” We’d get sidetracked on life, “I saw you put that thing on in… How was that holiday house,” or whatever it is. “That dress was amazing.” We’d get so off-track, and sometimes, we would waste half an hour and be like, “We’ve got one hour booked, let’s get into it.”

CLARE:

Do you know what was good though? Given that we hadn’t known each other before the process. I have to admit, we were a long way into the process and I hadn’t seen anything that you’d written.

SARAH:

I know.

CLARE:

And I was like-

SARAH:

It’s very [inaudible 00:23:04].

CLARE:

… “Are we writing a book here?” And then I think-

SARAH:

We’re actually just chatting.

CLARE:

… “Am I just paying you to hang out?” And I said to you something about, I was a little bit nervous about what if I didn’t love it. Actually, I think there was something else going on in my world at the time, and I was comparing an analogy and you were like, “Well, I know that it’s good because I’ve been doing this a long time.” And you instilled-

SARAH:

I can remember. I can remember.

CLARE:

You instilled a lot of confidence in me. And I was like, “Oh, gosh. How am I going to tell her if it’s just crap? What if she hasn’t got my tone of voice? What if she’s not very good at writing?” All these kind of thoughts, and then as soon as I-

SARAH:

I remember that conversation. Mm-hmm. It’s a very valid thing. Because you’d have something else going on where you had invested a lot into something and it just really didn’t work out the way you wanted, and you were disappointed, understandably. And so then you were like, “What if that happens?” And I remember saying to you “There’s no way…” I remember the words I used was, “There is no way this process ends without you holding a book in your hands that you absolutely love. That is the end result of this, and I don’t care what I have to do to get to that point.” And it’s always a little bit nerve-racking the first chapter, like there’s a little… Nerve-racking is not the right word for it, but when I send off the first chapter to a client, there’s always a bit of like, “I hope I got it.”

I hope I got their voice and I hope I got their vibe, and I hope this is what they want. But if it comes back and you’re like… No one’s ever an asshole. No one ever comes back and goes, “That was terrible, and I hated everything about it.” But I have had people who say, “It’s really good but it’s just not quite the direction I want.” And I’m like, “I’m a big girl, so I’m totally okay to go.” “Awesome. Thanks for saying that now and let’s readjust now, and get the tone right now, and then we’ll move on.” But I knew that the way that I work, and I just knew that I would be able to pick up from here, especially because we do things on Zoom or sometimes we had a lot of really great catch-ups in person. I can tell from your feedback, from your body language, from where you react to it, whether you’re vibing with it or whether you’re like, “This is not what it needs to be,” and then I know I’ve got to do more work here.

CLARE:

Yeah. Well, I think that when you sent me the first chapter, I was like it’s… I can’t remember if I said it’s perfect or it’s amazing, or it’s incredible, or something like that.

SARAH:

I remember you said, “It sounds like me. And I was like, “Yes, it is you.”

CLARE:

I’m not a creative person, so I have often thought about how stressful that process must be. And to your point, you’ve got a lot of feedback. There’s a lot of creatives, people like an artist or a brand designer, or something. Imagine that feeling when you’ve poured your heart and soul into creating three logos for someone and they’re like, “Nah, I don’t like them.” Honestly, I can’t even imagine what that must’ve feel like.

SARAH:

Really, it’s interesting because I’m 40 now and I’ve been doing this for 20 years. And at the beginning, when I started out as a journalist, I was like a meek little mouse, and I used to be scared calling people, which when your job is a journalist and you have to call people all day and interview them, that’s quite a challenge for your role. And I can remember my first job in a magazine and I was in the news department, and we had a very open plan office, and I had to call people a lot, and I’d get so nervous because everyone could hear me and I would call, “Hi, I’m Sarah, and I’m calling from this magazine, and can I interview you about your…” I hated it. And then you just have to do it, and you have to do it more, and you have to do it more. And the more you do it, the better you get at it and the less you care about what other people think. And now I’m 40, I’ve evolved so much there.

The first manuscript I did for someone came back in a way that we… In the industry described as leading. It was just covered in feedback. It’s so much track changes, so many comments. And back then, my little ego was crushed and didn’t process it very well, and I was devastated, “And why did I do this? I should never have tried to take this on it.” It was a very, very high-profile client, and I knew this book would be… And it shops all over Australia. And I was like, “I’m never going to be able to do this. I’m not going to be able to finish up. I’m not going to be able to get what she wants.” But I did.

And that process thickened my skin up for the next time. Oh, that’s such a gross phrase. Thickened my skin, gross. That gave me the confidence to go, “I can do this,” and it can get hard and I can still do it. And then I went into my next one just that little bit more prepared. And now that those processes, having that happen again and again allows me to go into a catch-up with you where you go, “What if I don’t like it?” And I’m like, “I know that you will,” because I know that if you come back and say, “I don’t like it.” I know I can change it, and I know I can. I’m not arrogant, I just know that I can, because I have written literally millions of words for other people. And I know I can get into that voice of a 60-year-old multimillionaire property developer, and I can get into the voice of a fitness expert, and I can do that because it’s my job.

But I know that for a lot of creatives, especially, that’s one of the hardest parts of it, is dealing with that feedback and not taking it personally. And I have known of a number of circumstances where it does get personal and it does get a bit, “Well, that’s not what you asked for.” And I look at the contract again and it all turns a bit hairy, because it can be really hard to separate your ego. If someone tells they liked my writing, it’s very easy for me to interpret that as they like me. So it does take a lot of work to separate what you do, who you are. But, yeah. I’ve had enough bleeding copy in my time to realize that I’m not going to make everyone happy. But also, even I was telling you, and that’s why I was so surprised when we got that amazing feedback from your publisher. I was telling you that the book that we had just done before yours when we submitted it to the publisher, that it had over 1800 changes during the structural edit phase.

So I remember saying to you, “Okay, we’re done, but it’s going to the publisher now and don’t be alarmed if it comes back with quite a few suggestions.” And that was a good book, but it’s still had a lot of changes at the end, which might sound surprising to people reading, listening to this. They might be thinking, “Why would you need 1800 changes at that point?” But that was quite a technical book too. I needed some technical and structural changes that I wasn’t able to do. But also, no matter how much you work on something, how many times your eyeballs go over it, you can type that was or you can type from instead of four, or those types of things can just happen, and so they get picked up during that phase. So, yeah. It can be quite impress-

CLARE:

100%. And I think I was very involved, I love English, and I’m not as good of a writer as you, but I think I’m a pretty good writer as well. And I think that that helps being able to go through it and read it, and read it, and read it, and read it again and again. And something that the editor, I spoke to her earlier today, she said to me, “You’ve just got a way of making money seem easy, not complicating it. A lot of finance people are using really big terminology. It goes all over the place.” And she’s like, “It just felt really easy to read.” And I think that all the work that we put into it collectively really, really paid off. So next, I’d love to have a bit of a chat about the actual book itself if people have been listening, learning a little bit about the process. Let’s dive in to talk a little bit about Intentional Profit. So what is your take as someone who played such a pivotal role in the creation of this book? What is your take on Intentional Profit?

SARAH:

Oh, gosh. How do I sum that up? Well, you’re going to have to buy the book to find out.

CLARE:

Yes.

SARAH:

So it’s like I was saying to you, a lot of the stuff that we talked about in your book wasn’t a surprise to me. It wasn’t a new way of thinking. It was a confirmation of things that I’d heard other ways and in other times, and things that I’ve picked up over time. But you had a very succinct summary lifestyle that it is just ingrained in your lifestyle. It’s just how you think and believe so it just flows through into everything. And it’s interesting what you were saying about the editor, how they put this that make it easy. I think that that’s really interesting. It comes down to ego and you don’t have an ego, which is I think the key to making your work so accessible. A lot of people when they do, particularly in finance stuff, when they do share this, it can be overcomplicated, and it can be full of jargon, and making it sound just that little bit difficult because I’m that little bit smarter than you and you really need someone like me to help you that can make things seem harder.

And it can be a deliberate sales strategy to be like, “Well, you really need me so you’re not as smart as me and I can help you.” You don’t have that vibe at all. In fact, you are very generous with what you give away. Going back to what we… Earlier, there were some parts where I’d be like, “Clare, we can’t put this in.” This is really your secret source. You have developed this strategy or this framework over years and years, and this is how you train people in your one-on-one coaching. So you can’t put this in the book because it’s like giving away too much. You’re so generous with what you give. And I think coming back to your initial question, Intentional Profit means it’s really intentional about every area of your life, particularly in your business. But it’s about being intentional with where you spend your money, where you spend your time, where you spend your energy and look at the outcomes of that.

And I love following you on Instagram, and you put something up last week about… Or this week, recently, about some styling, which I really enjoyed. And you put a note in there saying that you invest in people to help you, professionals to help you, because it’s not… And you had this wording at the bottom and I screenshot and saved it up my phone because it was so great, and you were like, “It’s not my mindset has changed. Not how much could I save by not doing this, but how much is this going to unlock profit potential for me in the future by doing this?” That is a game changer, and that basically sums up your whole book. It’s like what are the limiting beliefs that are keeping you stuck somewhere? And we’ve talked about this in depth as we’re working through your book. That was one of my limiting beliefs.

And I can remember a friend a little while ago, actually, when I say a little while, probably about five years ago, when we had little kids, and she said, “I can’t understand why anyone would go for a manicure. It’s $35, $40 to get a manicure and you can just paint them yourself home.” To her, it was such a absolutely no-brainer, why would you pay for that? Whereas for me, I’m like, getting a manicure is such an act of kindness to myself, and it’s time where I’m not working, I’m not with my kids, I’m not doing anything for anyone. Your hands are literally tied up so I can’t even double screen and do things on my phone. I just have to, for 30 minutes, tools down and just have someone take care of me, and then I walk out of there feeling a little bit better about myself.

I’m like, that is worth the $35, and then something to me. That summarizes Intentional Profit is, it’s about not always looking at where do you save money, where do you cut costs, where do you make things cheaper? It’s like what do you want the outcome to be and how can we get there, and that’s not always about saving money or doing it on the cheap, it’s about investing intentionally.

CLARE:

Yeah, I love that. That’s perfect. A perfect, perfect summary. And in the book, I do go a lot into… Well, what if you don’t have the money? It’s all well and good. And I know this used to trigger the hell out of me in the early days of my business. I’d be like, “Well, it’s fine for you to invest because you’ve got money.” I’ve got no actual money to invest, but we speak about that in the book as well. What are some strategies that you can use if you’re not in a place, if you are wanting to scale your business but you don’t know how, or if you are wanting to create luxurious experiences in your life and you don’t have $35 to go and get your nails done. So we just chat about that in the book, and that’s what-

SARAH:

And that’s such a good point. It’s not always about the… For that thing, when I didn’t have as much money, it was then about ritualizing a manicure. When I didn’t have the money to go and get a manicure, then it would be about how can I make that really a nice time for home. So that means blocking out some time away from the kids, having an hour with my favorite TV show, setting myself up, making a cup of tea. It’s not always about the actual cost of it, it’s just about being really intentional with what decisions you’re making and how you’re setting yourself up.

CLARE:

Because the energy, it’s all about the energy of how you’re doing things. Oh, I love that.

SARAH:

Yeah.

CLARE:

I love that. So who do you think this book will appeal to?

SARAH:

Ooh, that’s a good one. Well, when we were writing it, we definitely had a female audience in mind. I think the money mindset lessons in the book could literally be a game changer for anyone. Anyone who is interested in transforming their money mindset. Anyone who recognizes that they have money blocks. And I think the biggest breakthroughs are going to come from people who have some success already, because that’s really the hardest time to change your mindset. You’re already doing things that are bringing about success. When you’re already making money, that’s really hard to change that and go, “Why do I stop doing something that’s already working for me?” But it’s working for you at a level, it could be working for you at a much, much, much greater level. Like that saying, one of the greatest enemy of great is good.

When things are good and they’re fine, and they’re comfortable, you can live in that space forever and it’s fine, but it’s really challenging to have a business that’s ticking along and you’re making good money, and then have to challenge your thinking, and your processes, and your strategy, do it completely differently. That, I think, is going to blow people’s minds, if they are able to get past their fear of being like, “Oh, but I’ve always done it this way.” And I think that just applies to everyone in everything, whether you work for yourself, whether you work for someone else, we can get into these habits of just doing things the way they’ve always been done. And that can be fine. And sometimes that can be good, but it’s not always great. So this is about looking at all of those things and just trying to make them better, and better results.

CLARE:

Mm, I love that. Creating your most intentional life.

SARAH:

Yes, yes. And one of the things I love about it, and one of the things… Sorry, that was super annoying. I’ll get rid of that. One of the things I love about it and that I love about you, in general, with your vibe, is that you have such an optimistic and positive outlook, but it’s not that toxic positivity bullshit, everything is fine. It’s very real and honest, but not Debbie-Downer-honest. It’s just a very authentic roadmap to what your life could be. And one thing that you and I have talked about a lot that definitely showed up in the book is how your mindset impacts things to the point of if you see someone that has something you want, your response to that, it’s everything. And if I see someone with something I want, my response is unreal. I’ve just unlocked a new goal.

Other people have response where they go, “That’s not fair. Why do they have that? I should have that. I deserve that. I’ll never have that,” whatever it is. That speaks to your mindset, because the difference between them having it and you having it is probably not a great deal in terms of if we could have that. But it’s how your mindset approaches it and what you believe you can get. And we’re getting way deep into the weeds of what you should know about. But, yeah. I think you… Really good job of demonstrating that. You share all these beautiful wins that you have, but you also keep it real and make it very just relatable. And yes, you have some incredible things that happen in your life and you’ve got kicked incredible goals, and you’re very transparent about what you’re earning, then you’ll literally do your next post where you’re phoning and watching with your kids, it’s what life is. It’s swings and roundabouts. It’s amazing one day and challenging the next, sometimes within the same hour.

CLARE:

Oh, yeah. And we definitely dive into that in the book, talked about failures. Because not a lot of people in the online, glossy Instagram world talk about all the stuff that goes wrong. It’s just all of the glossings, and I’m not really sharing the truth of what goes on. Well, I’m incredibly grateful that you understood the mindset work for a start because not a lot of people outside this world do. And I’m also really incredibly grateful that you were able to translate, that you really understood what I wanted this book to be, and that you’ve translated it perfectly into this beautiful book. I am so, so proud of Intentional Profit. And if you are listening, please make sure you go and grab a copy. I’ll share the link in the show notes for the episode. If you have loved Sarah’s vibe, she’s like, “I’m not writing any more books.” If you would like-

SARAH:

And I would love to connect with each of you. Someone, just follow me on Instagram, I’d love it.

CLARE:

So how can people connect with you?

SARAH:

I have a website which is poorly neglected, sarahmegginson.com, and I am on Instagram, always trying to reduce my time there but always end up there way more than I should, which is just, sarahmegginsonwriter.

CLARE:

Amazing. Well, I will pop the links in the show notes for today’s episode. I am beyond grateful from the bottom of my heart to have been on this journey with you. I am so, so happy with the book and so grateful to have shared this experience with you, and I really appreciate you coming on the poddy today to share a little bit about the journey to get to the end of the book. Thank you, Sarah.

SARAH:

Thank you. Thank you. It’s been amazing.

CLARE:

I hope you are feeling inspired and excited about what is possible for you when it comes to money. It takes a lot of time and energy to create a podcast, so I’d be very grateful if you could take the time to hit subscribe, write me a review, and share any of your favorite episodes with your audience on social media. The more people that we can reach, the more people we can empower to earn more in their business, because you can and should be earning more money.

 

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