How Tom Made Over $6,000 Passively in 2014 from One Book

This is a guest post by Tom Morkes.  This month I am featuring articles to inspire you to write your own book, because a book is an excellent tool for building relationships at scale.


Sometimes there is such as thing as a good accident.

Last year, I did something mostly by accident that led to over $6,000 in completely “hands-free” passive income.

I had created a book the prior year, during 2013, that I pretty much did not touch in 2014.

Nevertheless, take a look at the results:


morkes graph

Income generated from a single book

The graph above is a snapshot of The Complete Guide to Pay What You Want Pricing since my launch in November of 2013 through today. If you remove 2013 and 2015 numbers, I made over $6,000 from the book in 2014 alone.


I’ll show you:

[Read more…]

How Building Relationships Saved Me in Afghanistan, Again and Again

Ryan McRaeThis is a guest post from Ryan McRae, creator of, where he teaches people to kill it when presenting.  He worked for a year in Afghanistan trying to figure out the direction of his life, and he figured out a lot more.

I remember getting off the plane in Jalalabad, Afghanistan at Forward Operating Base Fenty, wondering if I’d made the biggest mistake of my life.

Four months previously, I had burned out of my career as a Resident Director at my university, and I jumped at the chance to train soldiers when a technology company recruited me.

My burnout was so epic that Afghanistan actually seemed like a great idea.

I didn’t think it through enough, apparently. I remember walking across the hot tarmac thinking, “I don’t know a soul here. And I seriously just don’t belong.” My buddies I trained with had gone to different bases miles away, so I was a stranger in a strange land.

I had zero military experience and I had never been to war. My heart was overrun with fear until I learned how to make connections and to find the deeper purpose of this quest I had begun.

These are the lessons I learned in Afghanistan about networking and building relationships. They helped me not only do my job better, but helped me make a difference globally in an actual war zone.

[Read more…]

One Story of How Not to Build Relationships with VIPs, like AppSumo Founder Noah Kagan

how not to build relationships with vips

Note from John: Awhile back, I had a guest post published on (the personal site for AppSumo founder Noah Kagan) about how to cold email VIPs. In that article, I wrote about how I reached out to Noah with a cold email and managed to interview him. I’ve since gotten to know him better by consistently providing value to him and his business.

Shortly after I published that post, I got contacted by Adam Smith. Adam wanted to share a story about an experience in which he went too far trying to develop a relationship with Noah by flying from Japan to show up at a sold-out AppSumo retreat.

I was willing to share Adam’s story here because (a) Noah was cool with it and (b) Adam is candid in owning up to his mistake, and I think there are some valuable lessons here about how not to build relationships with people you admire.

Here’s Adam:

This is an embarrassing story. I’ve been reluctant to share it.

But I will because I think it’s the right thing to do and I want you to learn from my mistakes.

This is a story of how NOT to build a relationship with someone.

In my case, that someone was Noah Kagan.

[Read more…]

How to Forge Community, Make Connections, and Write Your Masterpiece

how to forge communityNote from John: Kevin Johns is an author of the novel The Page Turners and a creative writing instructor. In this guest post, he writes about the importance of developing relationships for writers. I think the lessons are valuable no matter what profession you are in. 

Here’s Kevin:

Sweat clung to my clammy brow. My heart pounded at my ribs like hail rattling on a tin roof. I placed my fingers against the keyboard of my laptop, but my hands didn’t seem to possess the strength to type.

I was about to begin writing my first novel, and I was terrified.

I hadn’t yet drafted a single word, yet already I wanted to quit, throw in the towel, pretend it never happened. Every inch of my body was telling me to close the computer, grab a snack from the kitchen, and sit my butt down in front of a television for some mind-numbing TV time.

But I couldn’t quit.

[Read more…]

How to Build Relationships in Hollywood: 10 Lessons from 20 Years in the Entertainment Business

hollywoodNote from John: This is a guest post by Billy Greenfield, who is a Writer/Producer and a member of the Directors Guild of America. He has worked on numerous television shows and feature films including “Glee,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” and one of my favorites, “The West Wing.”

I worked in Hollywood early in my career, and I know relationships make or break your career. Billy has some good advice on how best to use relationships to build a successful career in Hollywood. Here’s Billy:


I was in the middle of nowhere on Highway 70 when I had the panic attack.

I pulled over on the side of the road and almost turned around. It had all been great a month earlier when I quit my comfy corporate job in St. Louis, Missouri and declared I was heading to Hollywood to work in the film business.

But here I was facing the cold reality that I knew almost no one in Los Angeles.

[Read more…]

How to Create an Interview Site to Grow Your Network

interviewNote from John: This is a guest post from Derek Scruggs.

I’ll let you in on a secret. Interviews are a great way to network.

It’s a novel way to introduce yourself to someone prominent, yet flattering at the same time.

This is about 50% of the reason I do my podcast. (The other 50% is that I enjoy the creative process of putting a show together.)

I first discovered this technique in late 2012. I was rolling off my last project and trying to figure out what to do next.

I had been watching a lot of movies of late, then I heard a quote from Julie Delpy about the moviemaking process.

What she described sounded a lot like entrepreneurship. That got me thinking that I might like being a film producer.

But I had no experience in the field and very few contacts in the industry. So how could I break in?

A journalist friend suggested I start an interview site, and now I’m suggesting you can do the same, especially if you are interested in breaking into a new field. But this process will also work if you are just interested in developing new relationships.

Step by Step: Create an Interview Site

[Read more…]