Jesse Krieger of Lifestyle Entrepreneur's Press is a serial entrepreneur whose path to success was untraditional, to say the least. He started his professional career as a rockstar (no, really) and created his first business at 21, went back to graduate college, wrote a bestseller, and started a few more businesses.
Now Jesse runs Lifestyle Entrepreneur's Press, a publishing company that works with authors to create best-seller worthy books and design custom prelaunch strategies.
Here's what he has to say...
Ashley: Hey, Teachable tribe. Ashley Hockney over at Teachable, sitting down with Jesse Krieger. Jesse, you want to introduce yourself?
Jesse: Hey Ashley! Hello, everybody over there in Teachable land. Nice to meet you. I'm Jesse Krieger.
I run a publishing company called Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press. We're a modern publishing company in the sense that we work with authors not just on making great looking books and getting those available wherever books are sold, but also actually doing promotion and doing book launches with and for authors, which from my experience is what authors are really looking for with the publisher anyways.
Now Jesse started his business, and it certainly did not come out of a 9-to-5 cubicle job. Do you want to tell people a little bit what that looked like for you, starting out on your journey and how you got to where you are now?
The truth is, I don't know if I've ever actually had a traditional career path. Very early in life, my first passion was music, I played electric guitar. I took that about as far as one could.
My first actual business was at 21 years old. I created a record label, sort of to administer our band's career. And that was my introduction to entrepreneurship through that filter of music which is my then passion.
I think over the last 10, 11 years or so in the different businesses I've been involved in that's been sort of consistent, I've more used the thing that I'm interested in and passionate about as a forerunner for whatever type of way that I'll be making money.
I found myself pretty firmly committed to publishing and working with authors for the foreseeable future. So another benefit of being involved in a lot of different things is now I feel very certain that I've found the one that I really love.
That's awesome because you've done all of it really, from a record studio, you've done coaching. And now you're doing publishing. Publishing must be your favorite, but what have been the benefits of each really?
Well, through getting into business through music, I think my main takeaway was marrying the creative and the commercial side of things.
You know, I came into it really hard from the creative side. And you may know or maybe some of the people that are creating training on Teachable may also feel the same way, you're not totally like technical and business minded if you're like a teacher, a trainer if you're in a public performance type of space and mindset. So once I saw how business itself can be a creative act, I think I really got the bug.Living at that intersection of creativity and commerce is where I feel pretty comfortable. I love being involved in the creative side of cover design, and marketing angles, and promotion, and stuff like that. And I'm also pretty business-minded now.
I had to up level myself a little bit more to get it. But ultimately you can have a team, you can have support. It's not like as an entrepreneur you have to do every single thing yourself all the time.
I think that's really true for course creators, bloggers and content creators. You want to create something beautiful, but then you have to figure out how to market it. And I think especially true for authors, they have a stereotype of the starving artist that is pretty difficult. I know you have a summit coming up that touches exactly on that.
The starving artist, I can't help but smile because something that I always say is if you tell yourself a better story, then you'll get yourself a better ending.
And so if you've got this loop like I'm a starving artist or I'm a poor author, then it's kind of a self-perpetuating situation, to be honest.
So instead of you thinking I'm an author. I have a message, and it can really move the needle for a lot of people, or if it's fiction, that you can provide entertainment and fun to a lot of people, if that's your mindset going in, then hopefully that's more people's experience when they experience your work, your creativity, your output.
I absolutely love that. I mean, I'm an English major myself. I've run into a couple other people who are English majors, writers, actors, who have found themselves in similar positions where they're running businesses and doing marketing, and that stereotype is so frustrating because it doesn't have to be true.
Yeah, and in the author realm, I found the number one concern, hesitation that people have about really creating a book and finishing it is what I call playing the waiting game, and waiting will be an acronym for Who Am I To.
As long as authors think who am I to put myself forward as an expert on this topic? Who am I to write a book about x, y, to z? Then it presupposes a negative answer.
The simple shift there is going from who am I to, to who can I serve? Who is this book for? Who is this going to make a difference in their life, solve a problem, or help them achieve a goal or aspiration?
It takes the focus off of you, like am I good enough? And it shifts it more onto the reader, which I think is where it should be.
Is this something that you're going to talk about more in your summit? Or tell me a little bit about that, because I know you're in the middle of it right now. I know everyone watching can join. Give us the deal.
We're in the middle of the Book, Business and Brand Building Summit that runs live June 20th to 30th. We've got live interviews every day as well as some pre-recorded interviews that become available on a rolling basis.
I created this summit because I think a lot of authors look at books in isolation. "If I just get my book done, then everything will take care of itself."
The reality is that there's a lot more that goes into really having a bestselling book, a book that's well-received by the market, but also a business that sort of grows and amplifies on that.I've sold thousands and thousands of my book, "Lifestyle Entrepreneur," and I've made thousands and thousands of dollars. And what is that?
Ultimately, it's not a full-time income.
Now from the opportunities that book has enabled, training programs, live events, coaching, client done for your work, well into the six figures.
And that's what I want to really be focusing on throughout the course of this summit is a bunch of different ways that bestselling authors and entrepreneurs leverage books to build their business and brand, and of course, how viewers can sort of go through these proven strategies and pick the ones that really resonate for them.
And I know that you've had not one but two books end up on the best-seller list. How?
Without going way down a rabbit hole, I've got like a four or five-year business history in Asia. I've studied Chinese. I used to have a promotional products business that manufactured in South China, and I did a lot of work over in that region.
I first wrote the book that became Lifestyle Entrepreneur, was focused on doing sort of a vocation-independent, physical products business. I got interest from a publisher in Asia in that region. And they're like this is good, but why don't you broaden the scope and give us a little bit more holistic perspective on life and business?So I rewrote it. That became Lifestyle Entrepreneur, version one, which was released in Southeast Asia.
I have a publisher there, and they really promoted it, and I was willing to fly over there and promote it too. So it became number two business best seller in the whole country of Malaysia, and it's distributed in Singapore. I got to do a book tour over there and all that good stuff. It was really fun.
Fun fact, I didn't actually self-publish my own book. It was through working with two different traditional publishers and seeing how that all works from the inside out that I saw the opportunity to create the kind of publishing company I wish I had and that I thought should exist.I had wanted to get down my philosophy on 10 years of entrepreneurship working in very different and seemingly unrelated fields. I was asking myself, "What is my approach, and how can I get this done to help other people?"
What I didn't expect, which has probably been the most rewarding thing, is the feedback that people have sent me. In the introduction to my book, I said, "If you've learned something here, if this was valuable to you, write me."
I put my personal email address in there. So I'll get letters. Even now, years later, that say like, "I found your book. I got inspired, I quit my job, I did this, and now I'm doing that," and just like relate this whole story.
It's kind of amazing to think that if I hadn't written that book, or for anybody that's watching this that's an author, if you don't write that book and get it out there, it won't actually make the impact on people's lives that it has the potential to make. So that's been rewarding for me.
Absolutely. And I can imagine you're at the scale where you have a bestseller list and I kind of feel the same way when I get an email back that's like, "Hey, I like that one joke in your small newsletter." And through this, you're actually able to change people's lives.
What we're both doing is communication in some shape or form, and I really enjoy that feedback loop that is made possible through the internet through different types of technology that are available.
And one thing when we're always talking about courses here at Teachable, we always say they're scalable. Because sometimes when you try and build other businesses, it's like a blog, you have to constantly generate content. Or to teach in person, you can't really teach thousands of people at once. It just doesn't work like that. What has been your experience with online courses and online trainings?
Well first, I probably should have mentioned this upfront, I'm very proud and happy to have Teachable as a sponsor on the Book, Business, and Brand Summit. And I really like what you guys are doing. I really mean that because one of the things that I really work with authors on is looking at their book as the basis for an online course. Because just having that, just that one simple thing in addition to your book, gives you the multiplier effect of the potential to make hundreds of dollars per reader instead of $12 if you self-publish, or $1 or $2 if you traditionally publish.
And online training courses are a great way to deepen the level of engagement you have. I mean a book, sure, you can sit there and read it, and you feel like you know the author.
In a training course, you're like watching him or you're live on an interactive call with them. And that really does something in terms of deepening the impact of the material. And I think online training courses are great in the sense that the way I define training is helping people go from point A to point B.Like in a book, I cover like philosophy, stories, and reference experiences, and how-to information. A training program is like we're going to get you from here to having your book done and on the bestseller list, for example in the case of one of my cases. It's very tactical and practical. And people value that higher than they do a book.
Which is unfortunate, you know. I love reading books. But it's true, everyone has this like different medium that they learn through.
Well, I've always thought that a book has an incredibly skewed price to value ratio. You can pay $10, $12, $15 for a book, and it can actually change your life. And an online training course can too, but usually, the ticket price is much higher. And I think that's appropriate, and I think it just speaks to why it's important to have a training course as an author.
I completely agree. So for everyone watching this interview right now, they're probably feeling the same way. It's like you have this education, maybe we're all sitting in 9-to-5's right now, we're all at jobs. And we're looking to push beyond that and do more. You've done that, you've had multiple businesses, you've been on entrepreneur your whole life. For that person who's just starting out, what would you tell them?
The first thing I would say is I don't want you to just watch this video and think that it's all easy and it's all butterflies and rainbows.
Start an online business and make money from home and change people's lives.
That is true, but there's a lot of hustle, a lot of work that goes into it. You have to be willing to learn a lot of skill sets and a lot of things that may be outside of your core area of competence. And in so doing, if you enjoyed learning, it's a fun challenge. But you don't have to master all of them.So if you just get proficient and understand what all is involved, then it becomes much easier to bring on support, have a team. But if you're watching this and you're like thinking just getting started, I recommend a productivity technique.
So if you're looking to get rolling, just block out one to two hours a day, three to four times a week to dedicate it 100% focused time on your business venture, and that's something that's realistic even if you have a full-time job.
If you're doing that and you're taking the right actions during those blocks of time, you'll start to build momentum. And I promise that you'll probably start to allocate more time to your business as you see the beginning of things happening because it's going to be more exciting than your current state of work affairs.
I love that. And I've recently done a couple of interviews with some of our instructors who have just launched, they're very new. And one of them referred to Teachable subscription as like a gym membership. And it was the same ratio which is let me think of it as like one to two hours a day, three to four days a week. And it forces you to create something and do something.
I'm glad that people have a way to access all the different training or to put in the work to build out a course and get in front of people. It's another example of an incremental way to get yourself out there, especially with something like Teachable where you've got the platform. It's so much easier if you can just have a process like what you guys have that just walks people through the creation and distribution for their courses.Honestly, it's a similar focus to my publishing work, at the end of the day I want authors to be able to focus on being authors, focus on being the exponent of their message, not becoming engineers and web developers and marketing strategists, right?
So the same thing.
If you want to train instead of going down the rabbit hole and learning all these technologies and all these complicated stuff, you've got a platform that lets people just get content out there in a pretty streamlined way.
I'm really interested actually in how do you that in your publishing business? How are you different than the other average competitor?
I actually don't look at any other authors or publishers as competitors because the beautiful thing about books is that you don't just read one. It's not like you pick out the right washer and dryer for you and then you use it for a decade.
People read tens, dozens, hundreds of books in their lifetime, and that's all good.
Now what we do that is different, one, at this stage, I'm still personally involved with every author that I work with. And we do strategic consultations throughout. So we're looking at the book as one part of their overall business and brand. Even the book launch itself, it's just one part in how I like to help authors think of and structure their overall businesses development.So let's say you've got an author that's got a live event coming up. We've done this on a couple occasions where we'll launch the book, the book has a very similar if not the same name as their live event. And so you've got this two or three staged promotion where you're getting the book out with a wide distribution of hundreds, if not thousands of people. And then from that book, there's a call to action to learn more about a live event or to register to attend a live event.
So you can stack forward the interest that people have in the book, the content, and the author, and do an interactive environment like a live event.
So I always like to ask everyone I talk to. What are you personally struggling within your business right now? And how are you getting over that?
For me, part of my entrepreneurial tendency I guess is I love getting involved in every aspect of things, especially as a somewhat smart person, you're able to figure out how to do a bunch of different stuff.
Just because I'm able to figure it out doesn't mean that I should be the one to do it.
So the thing I've always struggled with and I found a solution to now is how to really delegate and empower team members so that I actually take responsibilities off of my plate, instead of like quasi-delegate and then micromanage.
I would say if you find yourself micromanaging or over busy or overworked, then you might need to up level your vision for what you want to accomplish so that other people can come on board with it.
I've got a team of five people just for the summit, and some of those people are in turn running their own teams, but I just deal with them. And as we were talking before this interview, with the support, that's the one area I didn't hire in for and now I'm getting like 350 to 400 emails a day.
Do you have any last bit of advice for someone before I let you go?
If you're watching this and you're thinking about writing a book or you've been thinking about creating an online course, you feel compelled to do so, then you're meant to do it and it's as simple as that.
You don't need anybody else's permission, you don't need any market research or validation. You can be internally sourced in your motivation to create.
People like Teachable, companies like mine with publishing are there to support that calling. And if you answer that call, then that's what's going to make the difference between the 70%, 80% of people that say they want to write a book or think it would be a good idea, and the what, like 1% that actually do.
So don't sit around waiting for somebody else to give you the encouragement to do it. Or if you need that, then I'm telling it to you right now.