“I know I’ve got great experience and something to say that will help people, I just can’t figure out exactly what it is.”
Is that how you feel when you think about writing a book? Welcome to the club. We’ve all been there.
Try this simple exercise to see if it will open some mental doors and get your creative juices flowing.
The “If only I could…” Exercise
Before you can write a popular book, you need to create a popular idea. You need an idea so simple, yet so needed, that people say, “Yes! That’s exactly what I need! Please, please, please write a book about that!”
To find that magic idea, think about the potential audience for your book. For the sake of this example, let’s say it’s a 30 year-old entrepreneur with a 10-person service business, like a PR or web design agency.
In order to attract this entrepreneur’s attention you need the answer to a problem they struggle with on a regular basis, so that it’s constantly top of mind. The need to solve this problem should border on desperation.
This entrepreneur, your entrepreneur, is at Point A.
They want to get to Point B.
Something is getting in their way.
They’re getting stuck.
You have the solution.
You can help them get from A to B.
What is A?
What is B?
What is getting in their way?
How do you help them solve the problem?
Every entrepreneur wants to be happier and more content, but they don’t walk around saying “Dang it, if only I could be happier and more content!” Instead, they say things like:
- If only I could get clients to come to me, instead of me chasing them!
- If only I could find the right person to do sales for my business!
- If only I could replace myself!
- If only I could find the right accountant!
- If only I could get this new website done the right way!
To do the “If only I could…” exercise, follow these steps:
- Write down who your ideal reader is for your book. Get detailed. If it helps, think of a customer you already have, one you’d like to clone 100 times, and write down everything you know about them.
- Write “If only I could…” and then imagine what your ideal reader might say. Write down several options. If you already have a solution, reverse engineer it. Take the solution you provide, and write “If only I could…” and then write down your solution. If it doesn’t quite fit, it may not be that your solution isn’t a good solution, but perhaps it’s not the way your ideal reader thinks about solving their problem. Maybe you need to use different words.
- Keep working at it until something clicks. If you are really good at creating websites, and you enjoy working with entrepreneurs, then you’d write “If only I could get a new website done the right way!” and it would click, and you’d then think, “Maybe I need to write a book about how busy entrepreneurs with small businesses, small budgets, and no time, can still get a good website done.”
If you can’t find something that clicks for you, then it may just be a matter of finding the right words, but it may signal a more fundamental challenge in your business model (I’ve seen entrepreneurs go through this and change their whole business as a result, but that’s a good thing, right?).
If you find the idea that clicks, don’t dive into writing your book just yet.
Test that idea out.
Write posts on LinkedIn with advice and tips, post to your blog, launch an email newsletter.
Share your ideas openly, freely, and see how people respond.
If they demand more, you’re onto something.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you find yourself saying, “If only I could write a book, I could get the authority I need to grow my business…” then join me and all the other entrepreneurs in my Published Author Masterclass.Liked it? Share it!