Why Attention Pays with Neen James

#30: Neen James, author of Folding Time and Attention Pays, shares how to create systems of attention that help you focus on the meaning instead of just the metrics and create content that builds a personal connection with your audience.

Over the past two decades Neen has been advising some of the coolest companies in the world including Viacom, Comcast, Paramount Pictures, and even the FBI, on how to improve their strategic planning, communication, and leadership development.

Neen also tells us how to create conceptual models that make your message ultra-shareable, and how to commercialize your work so you can create more value in the world.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • how to get people to pay attention;
  • how getting them to pay attention create deeper relationships, increase your revenue, and better take care of the planet;
  • why she left the corporate world to venture out on her own;
  • how having a corporate background and having an entrepreneurial career allowed her to have a very unique of approaching things;
  • why there is always time to through your to-do list;
  • how “attention pays” relate to creating content;
  • how to get a return on people’s attention;
  • the three ways people pay attention;
  • how companies can grow their business;
  • how paying attention can save the planet;
  • what makes attention valuable;
  • the two things that content creator needs to convey their message effectively, and
  • how to commercialize your expertise.

Quotables

As content creators, we are in the attention business…We are craving the attention of the people who matter to us. (05:06)

In all the research that I did, I realized that you can’t manage time, but you can manage your attention. (06:05)

We think about attention in three ways, personal, professional, and global. (07:48)

What I realized is when companies pay attention to their team and to their customers, they make more money. They attract and retain the top talent. And their clients come back time and time again. And then they tell others. (07:52)

What we have to do is we have to pay attention to what people are doing, not replicate what they’re doing. (09:52)

Pay attention to who you’re writing for. Who is your avatar? Who do you care about? What do they need? What is it that you can do to serve them, and then how are you going to deliberate so you not only get their attention, but you keep their attention. (10:38)

I think in looking for that answer, often what they focus on is the results rather than the relationships. You know, as content creators we’re focused on the metrics rather than the meaning. And so what I believe is I believe systems direct attention. So we need to create systems of attention. (16:48)

What you have to make some intentional decisions around is – who deserves your attention? What deserves your attention? How are you gonna show up in the world? That’s my challenge to the people listening is – Are you paying attention to the things that really matter so you can focus on meaning and not just metric? (17:37)

If people can see your idea, they can hear your idea. If they can hear your idea, they can share your idea. (20:59)

If you want to elevate your ideas, can you create a contextual model? (25:31)

I think we look at other outcomes and heroes out in the world. You think, oh, I just want to be like that. No, you want to be like the coolest version of you. Do you want to show the world your unique intellectual property? You want to show up in the best way. (29:01)

Giveaways

Sample book Chapters of Attention Pays 

Folding Time complete book 

Idea Shaping White Paper from Neen 

Resources

Book

Attention Pays

Tools

Freedom plugin

References

Connect with Neen James

Twitter: https://twitter.com/neenjames

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NeenJamesCommunications

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/neenjames/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/neenjames

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AussieNeen


Episode 30: Why Attention Pays with Neen James

Neen (00:02):

And I think as content creators, we have to think about, once we spend today, that's it. That's it. It's never coming back. No do over, you can't reset it, we have to think about is how do I make the most of this moment? So if you have the reader's attention for a moment, you better make it worthwhile. If someone's watching one of your videos, it better be your best work because don't you dare put something into the world if you want someone's attention, if it's not what's truly your intention for that person. And so I just want to challenge people that every time you publish a blog, every time you write a caption on social media and you put a mini little blog with your Instagram photo, is that really the best way to grab someone's attention and showcase how you are adding value in the world?

Josiah (00:44):

That was Neen James, author of Folding Time and Attention Pays. And in this episode she shares how to create systems of attention that help you focus on the meaning instead of just the metrics and create content that builds a personal connection with your audience. Over the past two decades, Neen has been advising some of the coolest companies in the world, including Viacom, Comcast, Paramount Pictures, and even the FBI on how to improve their strategic planning, communication, and leadership development. Neen also shares with us how to create conceptual models that make your message ultra shareable and how to commercialize your work so you can create more value in the world. Be sure to check out the show notes on this episode as well because Neen generously offered a free download of her book Folding Time for Content Heroes listeners, as well as a brilliant white paper on idea shaping, which helps people see, share and spread your ideas. This conversation was a ton of fun and there were so many great takeaways. I can't wait to share it with you, so let's jump in.

Announcer (01:42):

You're listening to the Content Heroes podcast where entrepreneurs, marketers, and creatives share how they build profitable businesses on their own terms by creating content online. And now your host Josiah Goff.

Josiah (01:57):

Welcome to Content Heroes, everyone. I'm here with Neen James who is the author of Attention Pays and Idea Shaping. And I am super pumped about this conversation. Neen, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Neen (02:10):

What a privilege. I'm so excited to serve up these incredible content heroes that you have listening. This is great. Let's do it.

Josiah (02:17):

Let's do it. So I definitely want to dive into the books that you've written and those concepts. But before we do that, can you just tell us a little bit about your origin story?

Neen (02:26):

So I grew up in corporate business in Australia, Josiah. I worked in, gosh, retail banking, telecommunications, and the oil industry in Australia. But as an attention expert, I'm obsessed with this whole idea of how do we get people to pay attention. And what I realized is that when we get people to pay attention, you know, companies make more money, our relationships are deeper and we take care of the planet on which we live. So growing up in corporate, there's only so much you can do. But then what I realized was if I went out on my own, I can have an even greater impact in the world. And so I have the privilege of working with clients like Compass, Viacom, J and J, like all the pharmaceuticals, Hyatt, like the Ritz, and even the FBI and kinda like the energizer bunny for their meetings, Josiah because often as their keynote speaker, what's unique about me is if you're listening alone, yes, I absolutely sound like I'm five. And being Australian, I have a very global perspective. I became an American citizen as well, Josiah so that I have a local perspective. And I think these are things that having this corporate background, and then having an entrepreneurial career has allowed me to have a very unique way of approaching things. I mean, Josiah, clients come to me and they say things like, you know, imagine yourself as like a content creator, right? So they say things like, Oh my God, like there's so much to do. I don't even know where to stop. Or they say there's never enough hours in the day, or they say people are just not getting my ideas, right? And so I fix that because often is the keynote speaker at a large corporate conference, I will share with them some really practical strategies they can implement. Or, maybe I do a one on one session with them to help them show the world their great ideas. See, the reason I do what I do is I just want the world to pay attention. Because I think we can create more significant moments with people that matter. So when I grew up in corporate and I've been an entrepreneur, I was a little girl from a very small town who grew up, the first couple of years in a caravan in Australia, which, you'll pull the trailer parks here. And so, that's kind of where I started. And now I live in Tampa, Florida, and I get to look at it this ridiculously, beautiful sunshine and lake. And it's pretty cool from this tiny little town. Right? So I love it. That's my origin.

Josiah (04:52):

That's amazing. I'm really curious about this idea of attention pays, especially how it relates to creating content. Can we dig into that?

Neen (05:04):

Oh my gosh, absolutely. Think about it, as content creators, we are in the attention business. We desperately want attention for our ideas, for our passions, for our projects, for the blog we wrote for the newsletter, we're publishing, for the speech we're delivering, for the video we shared, for the post on Instagram. We are craving the attention of the people who matter to us. That's not a bad thing. It's just I think attention gets a bit of a bad rap because when you think about this, gosh, you know, our parents told us to pay attention. Our teachers told us pay attention. We even tell our kids to pay attention. And yes, we seek to paying attention, but we're not. And what I discovered is that we do want to pay attention, but sometimes we don't know how. And so when I was researching, I got invited, Wiley reached out to me and asked me to write a book on this topic. And when they first asked me, I was like, well, it's a book on attention. Like that's crazy, right? And then I was like, well, doesn't everyone just pay attention? Well, clearly they don't. Myself included sometimes, and so what I realized was in all the research that I did, you can't manage time, but you can manage your attention. And so as content creators, what we have to realize is, okay, then how do we make attention pay? So how do you get a return on people's attention? I discovered that we really pay attention in three ways. People might like to write this down if they're not driving in their car or running in the neighborhood. I realized the first one we pay attention is personal attention, and this is truly about who deserves your attention. We have to get very clear on who deserves our attention. And so when we think about this, this is truly about being thoughtful. It's writing content that is very deliberate for the person that you really care about, right? The second way we pay attention is professional attention. This is about what deserves your attention. It's so easy to get distracted these days. Well, we have to be very clear on choosing to be productive, which means we have to determine what is the best modality for the messages that we're delivering. As content creators, you have to think about what deserves our attention, where do we want to invest our time, energy, and attention. And then the third way we pay attention is called global attention. This is truly about how you pay attention in the world. And this is about being a contributor. This is about being responsible. Now, your listeners know this more than so many people because they called to share these ideas they have with the world in a way that is often bigger than anyone else around them understands. And especially if you are starting your content creation journey. You see all these amazing people producing all this crazy work that's impacting the world, and you think - I want that. We all our own content heroes, right? And so we think about attention in three ways, personal, professional, and global. What I realized is when companies pay attention to their team and to their customers, they make more money. They attract and retain the top talent. And their clients come back time and time again. And then they tell others. When we pay attention in our relationships, dig deeper, our friends, our family, our team members, our colleagues, people in our workplace, like whatever it is. And then I realize that we have this responsibility to be able to take care of the planet that we live on. Now I'm Australian, so we grow up recycling. We're a tiny little country and I love animals. So I'm always going to be skewed that way of how can we truly take care of the people and the pets and the places that we live. So for me, that's the lens I see everything in. And when I realized in writing the book is it's intention that makes attention valuable. And so when we get out intent, right? Intentional attention, and this is really about choosing consciously, it's about acting deliberately. Then looking for ways we can transform very, very intentionally. And so that's what the book Attention Pays is all about. It helps break down a model that I've created. I love a good contextual model. You and I were chatting about that before the show. And so, you know, when I think about who gets my attention in the world, [inaudible] is a phenomenal, I'm sure everyone knows the legendary, Ann Handly, and she writes hands down my favorite newsletter on the planet. Like every other Sunday. I literally wake up early, I make my little cup of Moksa and I sit down, because I know Ann has popped into my inbox. And it's like this love note from her that she's written specifically for me, or at least that time. And she's a genius. And so for your listeners, if you don't follow her, she's the creator of MarketingProfs. I mean, Josiah is shaking his head. I can see him on video. Although you can't see it. And so I think she's a prime example of like, one of my content here is I wish I could write a new set as amazing as Ann, but I'm not Ann. And so what we have to do is we have to pay attention to what people are doing, not replicate what they're doing. We have to say, Hey, here's how she relates to the reader. Here's how she personalizes the content. Here's how she tells a good story. Oh my gosh, you had Mike Ganino on your show. I love him. He is hands down one of my favorites, Mike Drop Moment. Brilliant podcast. It's so good. His ability to help people tell stories. I've watched him basically transform the way people think about improv and the physicality on stage is genius. So when we look at these content creators who are out in the world doing it, they are constantly, consistently doing it. Whether people are looking on us, they have this calling on their life, and I'm sure some of you listeners are the same. So pay attention to who you're writing for. Who is your avatar? Who do you care about? What do they need? What is it that you can do to serve them, and then how are you going to deliberate so you not only get their attention, but you keep their attention.

Josiah (10:51):

There was one thing you said in there that just really struck me. And that was that intention is what makes attention valuable. I love that line. Can we dig into that a little bit more because there's so much going on all the time around us and it's so easy to just go through the day on kind of autopilot, moving from one thing to the next and that's where we miss all of this stop. So how can we be more intentional to pay attention?

Neen (11:21):

I think that what's happening Josiah we're living in this world where people suffer from what I've named the over trilogy. They're overwwhelmed. They're overstressed. And they're overtired. And so, so many leaders that I work with, whether it's a Fortune 50 company or a small business owner, now what I've realized is that we have constantly distracted because the world is throwing all these messages at us. We have all these internal pressures, these external pressures. I mean technology has changed the pace at which we work, right? People are literally addicted to their devices. And so when I was researching the book, I was looking into this whole idea of ADD. My little brother had ADD when we were little before it was like a thing that people called it now. Like legit medicated, like ADD is a real thing, not an excuse for being lazy. It is a real thing. And so what I realized was technology is not the enemy of our attention, we are. Because we allow ourselves to be distracted. I said, you can't manage time, but you can manage your attention. We get to choose. And so what I realized in building the model for the book was yeah, we have to make choices on a daily, hourly, sometimes minute by minute basis of who and what gets our attention? How are we going to show up? Right? And then I also realized that we have to put systems in place so we can act more deliberately. So for example, there's a really fun plugin called Freedom and it basically is a website blocking app. If you don't know it as a listener, I'm sure Josiah will put it in the show notes for you. It is a super easy thing to install, but I literally, it's like, no, no, no Neen James. You're not allowed to go play on Instagram right now because you're supposed to be writing a proposal. So it literally like helps me control my own attention. But I also have realized that we have to be able to invest in the people and the projects and the passions that matter. Everybody wants our attention. Everyone wants us to read their blog, beyond their podcasts, beyond their video, beyond their television show. Everyone wants us to do that and that's great. But once you have to think about is does this really help for you to transform and do what you're called to do? I am a huge believer that we have these amazing moments on this planet and we need to make the most of each moment. I was working with a dear friend this morning, her name is Lily, and at the time of recording it's 70 degrees in Tampa in winter. So it's amazing, right? So we were looking outside and she and I would discussing this whole idea of attention. And then Lily said to me, you know, sometimes I contemplate how many summers do I have left? And I was like, what a powerful question. Like holy guacamole, like at the time of recording, I am celebrating a very significant birthday this year. And I have created this list of 50 champagne moments. That's a little hint. And they sound like I'm 5 but add zero, we're getting closer. And so it's 50 things I'm achieving this year in my 50th year. I hate saying that out loud. But what Lily and I were talking about was well how many summers you have, where you're super energetic and you can travel the world and you can do all these things. And I think as content creators, we have to think about once we spend today. That's it. That's it. It's never coming back. No do over. You can't reset it. Well you have to think about is how do I make the most of this moment. So if you had the read this attention for a minute, you better make it worthwhile. If someone's watching one of your videos, it better be your best work. Because don't you dare put something into the world if you want someone's attention. If it's not, what's truly your intention for that person. And so I just want to challenge people that every time you publish a blog, every time you write a caption on social media and you put a mini little blog with your Instagram photo, is that really the best way to grab someone's attention and showcase how are you adding value in the world? I just want you to wonder about that. So in Lily's question, how many summers do you have left?

Josiah (15:08):

I'm getting teared up here.

Neen (15:08):

It's like big stuff, right? Because how do we get through my to do list? How do I press this up? How do I go to every meeting? How do I reply to every email? Can I get an empty inbox? No, you can't get an empty box. That's like crazy town. We have these stupid false goals that are not helping us show up. Am I a little bit passionate about this. Yes. And I loved, you know, Mike and Chloe, they bring passion, you know, you've had Chloe in here as well. You know, I think these are people who are doing what they are called to do and you can hear it. They didn't care who they annoy. They're not for everybody. And they're okay. And I guess I'm the same. I just want people to really spend their attention on the things that truly matter so they can create these moments.

Josiah (15:50):

One of the things that I've been doing lately since the beginning of the year is I have this mantra that I remind myself to say every day, 10 times a day of - It is my intention that I'd be aligned. Because anytime I start to get burned out or just frustrated, it's pretty much always because I am not being intentional. First of all, I'm not paying attention, but I'm not being intentional about doing the things that are my unique way to contribute to the world. I'm just doing things because like you said, I want to get my inbox to zero and I want to, you know, make sure that I'm feeling productive and all of this stuff. But I am not being intentional about being aligned with my bigger purpose, my kind of bigger calling.

Neen (16:45):

I love that. When I worked with thought leaders, they often ask me, well Neen how do I get attention because they want to build engagement. But I think in looking for that answer, often what they focus on is the results rather than the relationships. You know, as content creators we're focused on the metrics rather than the meaning. And so what I believe is I believe systems direct attention. So we need to create systems of attention. That's what I talk about in my keynotes. That's what I do when I do idea shaping for thought leaders. We need to create systems in our life because systems of attention, people used to think that if the system of a clear inbox meant you were productive, then you had a good day. But that's an old metric. That doesn't work anymore, right? Because that's never gonna happen if you're focused on the right things. Because I can promise every listener you can sit on your email from 6:00 AM until 6:00 PM and I promise you'll still have emails left. That's never going to change. Your emails are gonna keep coming. Your viewers are gonna keep growing. So what you have to make some intentional decisions around is - who deserves your attention? What deserves your attention? How are you gonna show up in the world? That's my challenge to the people listening is - Are you paying attention to the things that really matters so you can focus on meaning and not just metric.

Josiah (17:52):

And I've also found that when I am paying attention to the things that matter, it's so much easier for me to be intentional and to keep my intention on the things that matter when I am aligned with what I'm doing.

Neen (18:04):

I think email s an interesting modality. You know, I think the genius in email marketing is Michael Barber. I don't know if you've had him on the show. He is hands down, I watched him do a presentation at marketing props for Ann Handley. And I sat in the front row going, I didn't even know what to say. Like I didn't understand half of what he said. And because he's genius at this and he's got these incredible results for clients in the way that people respond to the kinds of things he has systems for writing emails and capturing the attention of the reader in a way I've never seen before. He'll be a great guest for you, by the way. Your listeners would love Michael Barber. He's charming and talented. But what I find interesting is that's a modality, email is a way of us sharing your content in the world and yet we don't spend enough time and attention on writing the perfect email to the people that we care about, right? We just think, Oh well I'll just throw this out in the world and see what sticks. There's a really fun newsletter that I do love reading. Whenever she publishes that, there's a girl by the name of Erin King. She's a fantastic speaker, but she has this really super cool system that I call the system of attention called PUB. You should get her on the show, she'll be fun. She writes the coolest newsletters and she teaches people how to write in a way on social media so they more persuasive and she talks about making it personal, making it useful, and making it brief, which is - PUB. So there are people in the world who have taken their content, their knowledge, their experience, their 10,000 hours, and they've created content in a way they've positioned it in the world that adds value. Ann Handley, Mike Ganino, Erin King, Tamsen Webster with her Red Thread process. I mean these are legends in content creation and they found a way to commercialize it. It's one whole thing to be able to write stuff and share it in the world. It's a whole another thing to commercialize it. And to me that's really vital as well is how you commercializing your intellectual property.

Josiah (20:00):

I absolutely agree with that. That actually brings up where I wanted to go next of you having this amazing system for shaping ideas. You've become really well known for that. What does that mean? Can we dig into that?

Neen (20:15):

Oh my gosh. Yeah. So, think of it this way, I've listening to this, chances are you've been exposed to, let me give you some examples. So Simon Sinek did a Ted talk, right? And he drew three circles on the bullet and then all of a sudden people were like, Oh I get that. The late Steven Coby had a quadrant model where he said, it's first things first. It's about doing the important, the urgent. Think about the food pyramid, right? So you have all these food groups, nobody believe in food pyramid or not. It's a little irrelevant now. But here's the thing, Coby, Sinek, and the food pyramid, they have something in common and that is they create a contextual model to show the world what they mean. My belief is this, if people can see your idea, they can hear your idea. If they can hear your idea, they can share your idea. And as content heroes we want people to share our posts, share our message, share speech. And so the way to do that is gives them a way to see your ideas. So contextual modeling in my brain is, and you and I have joked about this, I got out myself. If someone's telling me about the intellectual property, or they're telling me about media? I have this freaky ability to sew it into a shape. And so what I'm doing is I'm like, Oh, it's kind of like this. And so it's a little freaky, but then I do it for clients. So clients hire me to say, Hey, I have this idea of process, but I don't know how to show people how to do it. And so that's called idea shaping. I think as content creators, we need two things. We need what I call an attention matrix, a way to position your expertise so people buy it, but we also need a contextual model to show your expertise so people buy it. Once people see your idea, hear your idea, they share your idea. So idea shaping is this whole idea of having people to understand what you're doing by shaping your ideas for them because there's going to be a component of every reader, every watcher, every person who is looking at your content going, well hold on a second, what does this mean? For the people who are very strategic in their thought process, for a very left brain hemisphere. They love a good model. And so that's why you see in these corporate presentations, bar charts and pie charts, Oh, this kind of stuff. People love that, right? But imagine if you could take your ideas, you could elevate them by creating a contextual model. I promise you can charge more for them when you've got a very unique contextual model.

Josiah (22:38):

That is so great. Can we dig into how do people start that process? Because ideas they often just feel so like you can't really grab ahold of them.

Neen (22:47):

Yeah.

Josiah (22:47):

There's gotta be a process there. What does that look like?

Neen (22:50):

I'm sure everyone knows the legendary Jay Baer. Jay Baer is a King of content. He has ConvinceandConvert, he has standing ovation podcast, another great one if you're looking to elevate the speaking component of what you do in marketing, we talked about that a little bit. Jay and I, he was sitting in a session that I did and he has some really unique approaches to marketing and content and sharing. So I gave him this, we were doing a class, no kidding like by the end of that program, unfortunately crazy genius. He was sitting there and he drew this model and then the next day he shared it in a presentation and I've seen him share it even stronger in books that he's done with top triggers, audiences he's done around the globe. So Jay's a great example. And here's a couple of steps to think about. So as a content creator, well you think about is what is my core idea? What is the one idea I want to share with the world? And then you think to yourself, well what does that kind of feel like? Is it a square? Is it a circle? Is it triangle? And certain things we talk about in the world lend themselves to certain shapes. For example, if we're talking all about people and we're talking about cohesion and collaboration, what kind of shape comes to mind for you, Josiah?

Josiah (23:59):

Circle.

Neen (24:00):

Correct. I mean it just makes sense. When you're doing people oriented things. Sometimes that would lend itself that way. But if for example I was saying, well we've got this process model where we're doing A and B and C and then we're getting to this point. What kind of shape comes to mind for you?

Josiah (24:16):

Yeah, triangle.

Neen (24:17):

Correct! So you'll listeners are like, oh yeah. So what I want people to think about is the first thing you think about with contextual model is what shape? What does it feel like? Then me think about, well, what am I wanting my model to do? Am I teaching someone a concept? Am I teaching someone a process? Because those lend themselves to certain kinds of models. And then you think about what kind of words do I want to use? Am I teaching people a way to do something or am I teaching them a concept of something? And so that chooses the kind of words that you put. And so there's lots of ways to give you a model mojo and with arrows and all kinds of colors and things like that. But at a very, very, very basic level, I just want people to think about, go way back to is it geometry at school where we learned shapes and stuff. I don't know if you remembered it, that was a long time since I was in school, but we all know that a basic Venn diagram means the intersection of those three circles is something of significance. So we remember the power of shapes. We drive according to shapes. We see a hexagon on a road that is red. And even if we're in a foreign country, we can't see that in the language it says stop, but we know that that's a stop sign. So we have learned through contexture modeling. And so what I want people to really consider is if you want to elevate your ideas, can you create a contextual model? Now in the show notes, Josiah maybe what we could do is I could give everyone a free copy of like one of the PDFs. It says, Hey, this is how you do this, and then try it out and then let us know and tag us when you do it and tell us how you did. Because it's not super complicated, but man, it's a sexy way to show your ideas.

Josiah (25:55):

Oh, I love that. Thank you so much. Yeah, we'll definitely, we'll link that up in the show notes for everybody listening. So Neen, one of the things that you mentioned a couple of times was you used the phrase commercialize your expertise. What does that mean? Can we dig into that?

Neen (26:08):

Yeah, absolutely. I think it's one thing to share ideas with the world. It's whole another thing to make money out of them. Believe me, I love money. Whether you like it or not it's irrelevant. Here's the thing, money just gives you choices. If you don't like money, just give it away. Like, I'm totally okay with that as well. But the one thing that I realized early in my career is that when we have more money, we have more choices, right? We can make different decisions. And so we have to think about what is the best use of that time, attention, and their money and one way that we can commercialize our ideas is to show people how valuable they are and why you're the perfect person to hire to speak at that conference with your breakout. Well, you're the perfect podcast to subscribe to so that you can get sponsors who will help commercialize your podcast. Or, you can be paid to write for a magazine that you've always aspired to. And so to commercialize our expertise needs a couple of things. You need a very unique perspective and every person listening to this has a unique perspective. You don't need to be regurgitating every dead person in your boats. You don't need to be idolizing. Every person who seems to be winning the social media wars. You have a unique prospective and I think Mike touched on this a little bit in his podcast with you, so go back and listen to that episode. But what you need to do is think about, well what is my unique intelligence? What is my unique thought leadership? What is something that I have had so many hours in learning my whole life? Doesn't mean you've mastered it, it just means maybe you have more hours in your thought leadership than someone else. So identify your thought leadership. And then the second thing to do is determine what modality is best to deliver that expertise. Now for me, my modalities tend to be as a speaker because I keynote an enormous amount of corporate and association conferences. I also tend to mental executive, so I work with very high level thinking people to help change the culture of their organization and make sure they are paying attention to what's important. That's another way to commercialize my expertise. And I also have written some things, right? Now you don't make a lot of money out of books unless you're at 50 shades of purple or something. I don't know how to make money out of that. But people can, right? But I want people to consider it is to commercialize your ideas, you really need to think about what is going to be the flow on effect of something. So for example, you might be an aspiring content creator and you are publishing your blog, you're posting on social media, you're responding to every tweet and you're like, nobody's listening. How am I going to make any money out of this? And it's people like you that have the grit. It's people like you that show up day after day after day that can commercialize the IP, the intellectual property. You have to have a body of work behind you. You can't step on the stage and you know, being paid $20,000 as a keynote speaker until you've done, you know, all those other steps it takes to get there. And I think we look at other outcomes and heroes out in the world. You think, oh, I just want to be like that. No, you want to be like the coolest version of you. Do you want to show the world your unique intellectual property. You want to show up in the best way, and by the way, you want to have a sexy contextual model because really sexy contextual model will take you from like a $2,000 speaker to at least a five or a $7,500. And look what you charge is totally up to you. That's not even the point of this. The point is that you have to make really good decisions on the way you show up and how you maximize that and how you really understand, you know, this is how I'm going to make my money and my expertise. So a dear friend of mine runs a fantastic blog called the Well-dressed Life. She was a stylist for many years, did personal shopping for people and to realize she has this beautiful growing family. The girls are gorgeous and she was getting on planes all the time for corporate clients because she's a genius with personal brand. But what she realized was she could really create this phenomenal community for the people who followed her. It's called the Well-dressed Life. She does a daily blog, people like you get, that's like a thing like daily, I mean it is beautiful by the way, so it's not just intelligent. It's gorgeous. You may want to check out Megan, cause I admire her because she for many years delivered day in, day out. She has now this very engaged following. She supports every product herself. She's not paid to promote anything and everything is genuinely her. She's a great example of someone who commercialize their expertise because she stood in service of her community first. We need to stand in service of our listener, of our reader, of our viewer, of our audience so that we can say, you know what? How do I stand in service of them first? Because then the money follows.

Josiah (30:52):

That's so good. I feel like I could talk to you all day, but I know that you got a busy schedule so I really appreciate you being on the show today. Before we hop off here, can you share with everyone where they can find you online?

Neen (31:06):

Lucky for me, there's only one Neen James in the world. So if you really want to follow in my adventures, Instagram is where you'll find me playing on stories every day. But if you would love to stay in contact with me, you go to neenjames.com where you can subscribe for our newsletter and I'd be delighted to stay in contact with you that way. I think we're gonna give away some free books in the show notes as well, Josiah right? So you can also download those and stay connected that way.

Josiah (31:29):

Fantastic. Thanks so much and go be a hero everyone.

Josiah (31:34):

Hey everyone. Thank you for listening to the Content Heroes podcast. I just wanted to take a second and let you know that we have some amazing guests planned for the coming weeks. So if you haven't already, go ahead and hit subscribe so you can make sure to catch every episode. And if you enjoyed today's episode, go ahead and leave a five-star review to help make it easier for other content creators to find and enjoy the show. Lastly, I'd like to invite you to join our Content Heroes Facebook community where you can connect with other online content creators to share, learn, grow, and have fun. To join the group, just visit contentheroes.com/facebook. Once again, that is contentheroes.com/facebook.

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