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It’s a Match! Swipe Right on this Revolutionary Book Dating App with Brant Menswar Ep 72
Episode 7231st May 2022 • Fascinating Entrepreneurs • Natasha Miller
00:00:00 00:40:21

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Multi-hyphenate, Brant Menswar, is one of the country’s Top 10 motivational speakers, a best-selling author, award-winning musician, Top 200 podcast host, the creator of the fastest growing book discovery app in the world and a self-professed coffee snob. His books and podcast (Thoughts That Rock) expand on his ground-breaking work around values-based leadership described as “disarmingly simple and incredibly powerful.” 

He has helped to change what’s possible for industry-leading organizations like Netflix, Verizon, Anthem, SunTrust, Microsoft, ESPN, Hilton and dozens more.

Passionate and engaging, Brant encourages audiences to discover their Black Sheep Values® and move forward with deliberate intention. His interactive and entertaining ways of defining what matters most compels audiences to dig deeper into their lives and start living on purpose.

Where to Find Brant Menswar

Website: https://www.brantmenswar.com

SPONSOR

This episode is sponsored by Entire Productions- Creating events (both in-person and virtual) that don't suck! and Entire Productions Marketing- carefully curated premium gifting and branded promo items. 

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Transcripts

Brant Menswar:

They're thinking, "I need to do a banner ad on Amazon.

Brant Menswar:

I need to do this ad in a newsletter.."

Brant Menswar:

But it's all for a moment or for a one-shot deal.

Brant Menswar:

I'm going to appear in this one thing, one time and it costs me $1,500 and

Brant Menswar:

I hope that enough people see it and click on it and maybe that's it.

Brant Menswar:

What we offer is one-on-one.

Brant Menswar:

People are forced to make a decision on your book.

Brant Menswar:

They either have to say, "Yes, I want to add this to my to-be-read

Brant Menswar:

list," or "No, I'm not interested."

Natasha Miller:

Welcome to FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Natasha Miller:

How do people end up becoming an entrepreneur?

Natasha Miller:

How do they scale and grow their businesses?

Natasha Miller:

How do they plan for profit?

Natasha Miller:

Are they in it for life?

Natasha Miller:

Are they building to exit?

Natasha Miller:

These and a myriad of other topics will be discussed to pull back the

Natasha Miller:

veil on the wizardry of successful and FASCINATING ENTREPRENEURS.

Natasha Miller:

My book RELENTLESS is now available.

Natasha Miller:

Everywhere books can be bought online, including Amazon and barnesand noble.com.

Natasha Miller:

Try your local Indie bookstore too.

Natasha Miller:

And if they don't have it, they can order it.

Natasha Miller:

Just ask them.

Natasha Miller:

The reviews are streaming in and I'm so thankful for the positive feedback,

Natasha Miller:

as well as hearing from people that my memoir has impacted them positively.

Natasha Miller:

It is not enough to be resilient.

Natasha Miller:

You have to be RELENTLESS.

Natasha Miller:

You can go to therelentlessbook.com for more information.

Natasha Miller:

Thank you so much.

Natasha Miller:

Brant Menswar is one of the country's top 10 motivational speakers, a best-selling

Natasha Miller:

author, award-winning musician, top 200 podcast host, the creator of the fastest

Natasha Miller:

growing book discovery app Booky Call.

Natasha Miller:

And a really nice copy.

Natasha Miller:

Brant and I talked about the inner workings of his startup Booky Call, what a

Natasha Miller:

black sheep refers to and why it's a good thing, and his successful speaking career.

Natasha Miller:

Now let's get right into it.

Brant Menswar:

Expecting to play professional baseball.

Brant Menswar:

That was the path that I was on doing quite well.

Brant Menswar:

And then I got hurt.

Brant Menswar:

And so I had to pivot quickly in college to try to figure out something else to do.

Brant Menswar:

And so a bunch of my friends had joined the concert choir and I'm

Brant Menswar:

like, I don't know if that's my bag, but I decided to go ahead and do it.

Brant Menswar:

And found out I could sing a little bit.

Brant Menswar:

And then that led to 20 years in the music business of touring first with Fort Pastor

Brant Menswar:

and then with the band, Big Kettle Drum.

Brant Menswar:

That was like an amazing time of having to learn how to do everything yourself.

Brant Menswar:

If you're not on a major label and you don't have people,

Brant Menswar:

then you are your people.

Brant Menswar:

And so you have to do the marketing, you have to do the promotion, you

Brant Menswar:

have to find the fans to come to the clubs, and you have to do everything.

Brant Menswar:

You have to create your merch.

Brant Menswar:

You have to pick up, go to Walmart and buy your shirts and spray paint them

Brant Menswar:

because you've run out of things because you didn't budget properly for the tour.

Brant Menswar:

You're eating gas stations, you fill up your big gulps, you do all those

Brant Menswar:

things to save every penny you can and you'll get smarter as you go each year.

Natasha Miller:

Were these bands, your bands?

Natasha Miller:

Or was it just a collective but you were...

Brant Menswar:

Yeah, these were my bands.

Brant Menswar:

Yeah.

Brant Menswar:

Yeah.

Brant Menswar:

These were my bands and me and my band mate, JT Keel.

Brant Menswar:

For Pastor was a trio.

Brant Menswar:

We were a sort of a world music trio centered around the

Brant Menswar:

didgeridoo, believe it or not.

Brant Menswar:

So that was our first record deal.

Brant Menswar:

And then we did that for a couple of years, almost three years, and

Brant Menswar:

then decided we weren't going to do the next album with the same label.

Brant Menswar:

And so we jumped and I did the solo thing for a little bit and

Brant Menswar:

then on a whim, called my old band mate from Fort Pastor, JT Keel.

Brant Menswar:

He's an amazing multi-instrumentalist guitars.

Brant Menswar:

And I said, "I have to do this tour with four rock and roll bands.

Brant Menswar:

And I don't want to be John Denver on stage with blinkers.

Brant Menswar:

Can you please come and at least do something?"

Brant Menswar:

So we put together this sort of like swampy suitcase, kick drum,

Brant Menswar:

side guitar, Louisiana bluesy feel.

Brant Menswar:

And by the fourth show, we had a drummer.

Brant Menswar:

By the end of the tour, we had a record deal and it was like my farewell

Brant Menswar:

thing I was doing on the solo side.

Brant Menswar:

And it just blew up into 10 more years of touring and that was totally unexpected.

Natasha Miller:

Did you ever have management, or did you manage?

Brant Menswar:

We did towards the last few years with Big

Brant Menswar:

Kettle Drum, we had management.

Brant Menswar:

We shared management with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, if you're are familiar

Brant Menswar:

with that band at all, but we did.

Brant Menswar:

I got started really late in the game.

Brant Menswar:

I was dinosaur before I even started in the music side.

Brant Menswar:

I think it was 30 before I started my music.

Brant Menswar:

Wow.

Brant Menswar:

And so for most is, that is ancient.

Brant Menswar:

And so I knew that I wasn't going to be in my fifties, sixties, pounding

Brant Menswar:

out the tour in a van with sweaty men.

Brant Menswar:

I have those not just interested and to find an exit strategy at that time, my

Brant Menswar:

son had gotten sick and I needed to find a way to be a little closer to home for him.

Brant Menswar:

So it was something that I just needed an exit strategy.

Brant Menswar:

And that's what sort of got me into the keynote speaking game.

Natasha Miller:

And when did you make that switch from on the road keynote?

Brant Menswar:

I eased into it about nine years ago and started with a

Brant Menswar:

group called Banding People Together.

Brant Menswar:

That was my first sort of intro.

Brant Menswar:

So a buddy of mine, Alan Schafer, the founder of that

Brant Menswar:

organization, it started off as..

Natasha Miller:

Team building outfit?

Brant Menswar:

You would go in and we would take organizations,

Brant Menswar:

break them into groups.

Brant Menswar:

Those groups would become bands.

Brant Menswar:

They would write an original song.

Brant Menswar:

We would teach them how to collaborate based on our co-writing principles.

Brant Menswar:

And we would take those songs back to the studio, record them, like

Brant Menswar:

you'd hear on the radio and send them back to the organizations.

Brant Menswar:

And that was my first foray into speaking.

Brant Menswar:

Every one of these sessions started off with a general session.

Brant Menswar:

"Here's what you need to know about collaboration and why it's important."

Brant Menswar:

I did that for years, as building a bridge to get off the road.

Brant Menswar:

And then really, it was probably around 2010, 11, 12 ish.

Brant Menswar:

That's when I transitioned to heavier, to being more speaking than playing.

Brant Menswar:

And then the last six or seven years now, I only play with the band on

Brant Menswar:

charity gigs, basically at this point.

Natasha Miller:

How did you find yourself developing a speaking career?

Natasha Miller:

I know a lot of entrepreneurs have an entrepreneurial endeavor.

Natasha Miller:

They get to the top of their game and then they want to start speaking.

Natasha Miller:

So we're speaking to those people, right?

Natasha Miller:

That's our target demographic.

Natasha Miller:

So what was that like for you?

Brant Menswar:

When I first got into the speaking game, when you're on

Brant Menswar:

the road with a band and you go see another band, I think we all are in

Brant Menswar:

the same boat, which is like, "How the hell did this band get this gig?"

Brant Menswar:

is that not where we all say, "Why am I not up there playing?

Brant Menswar:

This is ridiculous.

Brant Menswar:

I'm 10 times better."

Brant Menswar:

All those things.

Brant Menswar:

We would have those same arguments, "Who do they know?

Brant Menswar:

Who's their uncle?

Brant Menswar:

What's happened?"

Brant Menswar:

And so in the speaking game, what I've come to realize is, it is a very crowded

Brant Menswar:

space for presenters, but there are hardly any speakers, people who leave enough

Brant Menswar:

space to capture the truth in the room.

Brant Menswar:

There's a massive difference to me.

Brant Menswar:

And there's a handful of people that I would say are great speakers.

Brant Menswar:

And then..

Natasha Miller:

I'd love to know, like name one that we would all recognize.

Brant Menswar:

I don't even know if you would recognize, but Scott

Brant Menswar:

Stratton is like the quintessential.

Brant Menswar:

He's the benchmark for being a keynote speaker.

Brant Menswar:

He's a hall of fame speaker.

Natasha Miller:

Not someone like Simon Sinek?

Brant Menswar:

No.

Brant Menswar:

Simon as a presenter of information and he presents it well..

Natasha Miller:

So is Brené Brown?

Natasha Miller:

And yeah, I got it.

Natasha Miller:

I'd like to see.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah, I'll check that out.

Natasha Miller:

And I think people listening to know whether you're a speaker presenter

Natasha Miller:

and I don't think there's much thought to that differentiation.

Brant Menswar:

There's a bunch of zeros that are the difference of that.

Brant Menswar:

In the speaking game, presenters aren't going to get 20K plus a talk.

Brant Menswar:

They're just not going to get there.

Natasha Miller:

Lisa Nichols, is that a name that's familiar to you?

Natasha Miller:

I know her speaking fee and it's more than what you just said, and

Natasha Miller:

she's a storyteller and there's some motivation and inspiration baked

Natasha Miller:

in, but it is not prescriptive.

Brant Menswar:

Right.

Brant Menswar:

You can't be a formula.

Brant Menswar:

So presenters, if you took their slides away, they would panic.

Brant Menswar:

And a storyteller, you could lose power, the whole place could be

Brant Menswar:

burning around you, and they still are like "Here, I'm right here."

Natasha Miller:

Thank you for teaching me.

Natasha Miller:

I was wondering, am I a presenter?

Natasha Miller:

I can be a presenter on the things that I am an expert atm

Natasha Miller:

but what I've turned into my book.

Natasha Miller:

Performance keynote is storytelling and it has music woven in.

Natasha Miller:

It's pretty amazing.

Natasha Miller:

So I don't know.

Natasha Miller:

Maybe we'll talk later after this and you can tell me what I am.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah, it's fantastic is what I am.

Natasha Miller:

Just kidding.

Brant Menswar:

Listen, this is the thing.

Brant Menswar:

People think you've got to have enough swagger to command those types of dollars.

Brant Menswar:

You just do.

Brant Menswar:

And if you are unsure of yourself, every client that hires you is

Brant Menswar:

going to be unsure with you too.

Brant Menswar:

And you know that.

Brant Menswar:

And so the idea for me is, can you leave enough space in the room to capture

Brant Menswar:

what's happening in the room, or you just going to present your information?

Brant Menswar:

People get nervous if you're not quick witted.

Brant Menswar:

If you're not able to use something that happens in the moment, then

Brant Menswar:

you need to steer away from that because it could be a disaster.

Brant Menswar:

But for those that understand how to structure a talk, that leaves enough room

Brant Menswar:

for that to happen and still be on path.

Brant Menswar:

Those are the ones that you walk away and you remember their talks three

Brant Menswar:

years after you saw them, right?

Brant Menswar:

It's just powerful.

Natasha Miller:

This is bringing up something really strong for me.

Natasha Miller:

And I really want to talk to you about your app endeavor.

Natasha Miller:

I don't even want to spoil it yet, but I found myself recently giving

Natasha Miller:

these keynote musical presentations and they had a structure.

Natasha Miller:

And I know that I'm a unicorn because not many people are comfortable doing

Natasha Miller:

this, but I found that including the crowd in the talk, asking them questions

Natasha Miller:

actually conversing with them, but there's that very fine line of letting it go

Natasha Miller:

on too long or doing it too many times.

Natasha Miller:

And when I started doing that, first of all, everyone is more engaged.

Natasha Miller:

It's almost like being at a comedy show or a magic show where the

Natasha Miller:

comedian is calling on people.

Natasha Miller:

And if you want to be that person called on you, where do you sit?

Natasha Miller:

In the front right?

Brant Menswar:

That's right.

Natasha Miller:

But I'm calling on people, raise of hands.

Natasha Miller:

"Has anyone done this?"

Natasha Miller:

And if you raise your hand, it doesn't matter if you're in the back,

Natasha Miller:

you're coming into my spotlight.

Natasha Miller:

And I know a lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of speakers really just

Natasha Miller:

are terrified of improvisation, so that just takes time and coaching.

Natasha Miller:

And, okay, so back to you, did you have, or do you have a speaking agent?

Brant Menswar:

Yeah.

Brant Menswar:

So I started off by myself.

Brant Menswar:

The speaking community is very tight.

Brant Menswar:

And so if you start doing well, you start to get the attention of bureaus, right?

Brant Menswar:

So speaking bureaus, there are hundreds of them.

Brant Menswar:

And so you start on your own and you build up enough momentum and

Brant Menswar:

you start to get your fee to a point where they take an interest.

Brant Menswar:

You can't really be below 7,500 to $10,000 and work with an agency before.

Natasha Miller:

Cause they don't make any money.

Natasha Miller:

It's just like band booking.

Brant Menswar:

Exactly.

Natasha Miller:

Nobody wants you until you are making enough

Natasha Miller:

money that they can make money.

Natasha Miller:

Nobody is into the developing of artists or speakers these days.

Brant Menswar:

A hundred percent.

Brant Menswar:

And so I started there and it took me years before I got to a point that

Brant Menswar:

I could get enough attention from bureaus for them to be interested.

Natasha Miller:

Was that a goal?

Brant Menswar:

For certain.

Brant Menswar:

Yes.

Brant Menswar:

If you're going to make a living at this and you're not

Brant Menswar:

famous, then this is the game.

Brant Menswar:

You have to have a bureau, at least one bureau representing you, who

Brant Menswar:

has these relationships with clients that are looking to book speakers.

Brant Menswar:

And so my best bud, the co-founder of the app is Jim Knight.

Brant Menswar:

Jim was a former hard rock international executive and Jim has been one of the

Brant Menswar:

most popular speakers in the country for the better part of 10 years.

Brant Menswar:

And he literally walked me in to his agent and said, "You need to

Brant Menswar:

meet Brant," and so that sort of, at least got me in front of them.

Brant Menswar:

Now I will tell you, shit didn't happen for at least another year.

Brant Menswar:

Even with that walking through the front door, it's a tough game to break into.

Brant Menswar:

So Keppler Speakers, I was with exclusively for a year or so.

Brant Menswar:

And they represent 700 speakers so you can get lost real quick, right?

Natasha Miller:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

It's just like, "Oh, I got signed to William Morris, but

Natasha Miller:

it doesn't really matter."

Natasha Miller:

It's great.

Natasha Miller:

Bottom of the list.

Brant Menswar:

That's right.

Brant Menswar:

So that's what ended up happening.

Brant Menswar:

To be honest, I love my Keppler family, but I couldn't stay exclusive with them

Brant Menswar:

because I told them just raw, honest teas.

Brant Menswar:

"You've got about four show ponies and I'm not one of them.

Brant Menswar:

And if I'm going to stay exclusive, you either need to build another

Brant Menswar:

stall for this show pony, or I can't be exclusive anymore."

Brant Menswar:

And so they were very honest and they were just like "We're just not

Brant Menswar:

in a position to do that right now."

Brant Menswar:

I'm like, totally cool.

Brant Menswar:

So I left my exclusivity just before the pandemic.

Brant Menswar:

And honestly, it's been really good because now I probably

Brant Menswar:

have seven or eight bureaus that are out pitching me every day.

Brant Menswar:

And I get calls several times a week with a put a hold on this date,

Brant Menswar:

and this is what it is and here's the offer and here's the client.

Brant Menswar:

And so it's worked out well.

Brant Menswar:

I couldn't have done that if I hadn't reached that level.

Natasha Miller:

You couldn't have done that without the hustle that you had to

Natasha Miller:

learn as a musician, are you in a really good position with your past knowledge?

Natasha Miller:

Okay.

Natasha Miller:

We're moving on to something that is current.

Natasha Miller:

Not that speaking is not current, right?

Natasha Miller:

That's still happening people, if you want to poke him, reach out to him.

Natasha Miller:

What was the impetus of Booky Call?

Brant Menswar:

Hiring an awful book publicist.

Brant Menswar:

That's why it was just this truth.

Brant Menswar:

I released two books.

Brant Menswar:

My first book was self-published.

Brant Menswar:

My first one, I like to call big boy book was published in September,

Brant Menswar:

2020 with Page Two out of Vancouver.

Natasha Miller:

I've heard good things about them.

Brant Menswar:

They're absolutely amazing.

Brant Menswar:

And so at that time, they didn't have a marketing department

Brant Menswar:

really to help promote your book.

Brant Menswar:

So you had to figure out what you were going to do.

Brant Menswar:

And so I hired this really well-known honestly, well-respected book

Brant Menswar:

publicity firm out of New York and spent a boatload of money and..

Natasha Miller:

Boatload meaning?

Natasha Miller:

Let's just break it down like $5,000 to $7,000 a month more?

Brant Menswar:

Double that.

Brant Menswar:

Yeah.

Brant Menswar:

Okay.

Brant Menswar:

Yeah.

Brant Menswar:

And so when you're looking at a minimum three months, right?

Brant Menswar:

So they want six in the book game after three months, you're at about

Brant Menswar:

80% of what you're going to sell.

Natasha Miller:

And what is the name of this book that we're talking about?

Brant Menswar:

The book is called Black Sheep.

Brant Menswar:

It was centered around my talks and the book was birthed out of that.

Brant Menswar:

And it was this idea that I had no idea why farmers didn't actually value black

Brant Menswar:

sheep, like the rest of the flock.

Brant Menswar:

And when someone told me the truth, it just rocked my world to the point

Brant Menswar:

where I had read a book about it.

Brant Menswar:

So the truth is that farmers don't value black sheep because

Brant Menswar:

a black sheep wool can't be dyed.

Brant Menswar:

So every black sheep is 100% authentically original and it

Brant Menswar:

can't be made into something.

Brant Menswar:

It wasn't meant to be.

Brant Menswar:

When I heard that, I'm like, that is literally like my life's goal, to

Brant Menswar:

just be that 100% authentic, original I was made to be and nothing else.

Brant Menswar:

And why are we running away?

Brant Menswar:

Why are we ostracizing being a black sheep on this is what we should want to be?

Brant Menswar:

And so the book led to building a framework for what

Brant Menswar:

I call black sheep values.

Brant Menswar:

You have to identify your flock of five black sheep values that

Brant Menswar:

are your non-negotiable values.

Brant Menswar:

The ones that no matter how much someone wants to try to influence you

Brant Menswar:

or twist or change you, they simply will not be moved like a black sheep.

Brant Menswar:

And so the idea is you discover your flock of five and then you start to use

Brant Menswar:

those five to choose your purpose and once your, what in your why, or in alignment

Brant Menswar:

with each other, you program these values into your day so that you can speak them

Brant Menswar:

into existence with authority and watch what happens is you have way more control

Brant Menswar:

of your life and you are living a far more authentic life than you were prior.

Brant Menswar:

You're living with deliberate intention and you're not winging it.

Natasha Miller:

I love that.

Natasha Miller:

First of all, you did not, of course know where black sheep came from.

Natasha Miller:

So thank you for educating me.

Natasha Miller:

Let me ask you this.

Natasha Miller:

Did the publicity company, they never promise anything, which is great because

Natasha Miller:

they can't write, they don't know for sure anything, but what was the implied

Natasha Miller:

promise of the kind of coverage that you would get that you didn't know?

Brant Menswar:

The magazines, the morning shows.

Brant Menswar:

If we can't get the morning shows, the regional shows all of the same stuff.

Brant Menswar:

And they got me an interview on a psychic network.

Brant Menswar:

Like what the hell is going on?

Natasha Miller:

They didn't need to do the interview if

Natasha Miller:

they're psychic, but get anyway.

Brant Menswar:

I wouldn't think they would have known that it would've been bad.

Brant Menswar:

And so they just didn't get the book.

Brant Menswar:

They didn't get even what the book was about.

Brant Menswar:

And so they're asking me to write articles on the Kardashians and write it about the

Brant Menswar:

big one, because she's the black sheep.

Brant Menswar:

And I'm like, what?

Brant Menswar:

I'm disgusted with even the suggestions that are happening.

Brant Menswar:

And so I fired them and I'm like, I can't deal with it.

Brant Menswar:

And I was just frustrated and upset over the whole scenario that I just

Brant Menswar:

took everything back over myself.

Brant Menswar:

And I started to use some of the same tactics that we would use to

Brant Menswar:

sell albums, to try to sell books.

Brant Menswar:

And I dove deep into the sort of the book community, right?

Brant Menswar:

The Bookstagram community, the book talk community, these book clubs,

Brant Menswar:

libraries, all these different places where books are sold beyond.

Brant Menswar:

Barnes and Nobles and your Books-A-Millions and that sort of

Brant Menswar:

thing, and started to have some success.

Brant Menswar:

And so I went to Jim, my business partner on several different businesses

Brant Menswar:

and I'm like, there's a gap in the market for a formal book promotion,

Brant Menswar:

and we need to fill that gap.

Brant Menswar:

So we started bookstore PR, January of last year, January, 2021.

Brant Menswar:

And we learned a lot real quick.

Brant Menswar:

We only did things that we could guarantee.

Brant Menswar:

So that was the difference.

Natasha Miller:

Was it a pay to play then?

Natasha Miller:

Was a switch, so you weren't charging people ahead of time, but you were like,

Natasha Miller:

if we get you this, then you pay this?

Brant Menswar:

No, we had three different packages, three levels of packages.

Brant Menswar:

And it was the cheapy cheap was.

Brant Menswar:

These were all three month campaigns.

Brant Menswar:

And so the cheap one was like 500 bucks a month.

Brant Menswar:

The next level up was 1500 a month.

Brant Menswar:

And then the top level up was 3000 a month, but that was it.

Brant Menswar:

So our total free month campaign was less than one month with

Brant Menswar:

an actual big publicity house.

Brant Menswar:

So these three things were like, we're going to guarantee you X amount of Amazon

Brant Menswar:

reviews, X amount of influencer reviews, press releases, and it was everything.

Brant Menswar:

And these are things that were guaranteed.

Brant Menswar:

If we don't do it, you don't pay for it.

Brant Menswar:

So that's how it was.

Brant Menswar:

And that was the big thing for me was that, as you said earlier,

Brant Menswar:

publishers don't promise you.

Brant Menswar:

And I'm like, that's just bullshit.

Brant Menswar:

They should get paid what they're worth.

Brant Menswar:

And if they don't get you anything, they're not worth anything.

Brant Menswar:

And so we have to get to this point where we can guarantee something.

Brant Menswar:

And so we did it for a while.

Brant Menswar:

And what we realized is that we live in Amazon's world

Brant Menswar:

. And Amazon decides to change things.

Brant Menswar:

You have no recourse of anything whatsoever, and you have no real power.

Brant Menswar:

They upload about 7,000 between six and 7,000 books a day.

Brant Menswar:

They have 33 million books in their catalog.

Brant Menswar:

And if you think for a second, your book's going to hit their

Brant Menswar:

algorithm and it's going to be recommended by any way, shape or form.

Brant Menswar:

It is incredibly difficult to make that happen.

Brant Menswar:

You are a unicorn who happened to hit that algorithm because your

Brant Menswar:

background, your history, your everything that wraps into you being

Brant Menswar:

you and the brand that is you really allowed your book to go to number one.

Natasha Miller:

Also, we chose really good categories.

Brant Menswar:

That's exactly right.

Brant Menswar:

Which is part of the strategy, that you should have with a great

Brant Menswar:

publisher who says, "We're not going to put you into a giant bucket.

Brant Menswar:

We're going to put you into..".

Brant Menswar:

It gets crazy.

Brant Menswar:

And books about ant farts released on a Tuesday at 6:36 PM.

Brant Menswar:

And you're..

Natasha Miller:

Number one best.

Brant Menswar:

Yes, but listen, it still holds weight and it still goes a long way.

Brant Menswar:

And so we, in that process of working with authors, we started to see that there

Brant Menswar:

were certain things that made it more difficult to guarantee because they would

Brant Menswar:

arbitrarily take down verified reviews.

Brant Menswar:

They would do just whatever they want to do.

Natasha Miller:

They're supressing verified reviews.

Brant Menswar:

Oh, Amazon does whatever they want to do.

Brant Menswar:

And you just..

Natasha Miller:

Why would they want to do that?

Natasha Miller:

Don't they want to sell books?

Brant Menswar:

They don't need to sell books.

Brant Menswar:

Books has been a loss leader for them since they really started.

Brant Menswar:

It's frustrating.

Brant Menswar:

It very frustrating.

Brant Menswar:

And so while this is all happening, I had this sort of crazy idea and I'm

Brant Menswar:

like, what if there was an app that functions like a dating app, but it would

Brant Menswar:

match you with books instead of people?

Natasha Miller:

Okay.

Natasha Miller:

Really?

Natasha Miller:

Where did you come up?

Natasha Miller:

Like how had this worked?

Natasha Miller:

That's a stretch.

Brant Menswar:

So my talks that I speak about when I'm out doing my

Brant Menswar:

keynotes are all about values, right?

Brant Menswar:

And so the number one shared value of all humans is connect.

Brant Menswar:

And it is 50% margin to the next closest value.

Brant Menswar:

So it is so far out there that you can't really deny the power of connection.

Brant Menswar:

So my question was, the publishing world has greatly overlooked how people choose

Brant Menswar:

to connect in today's digital world.

Brant Menswar:

And so when I looked and saw that three out of five marriages now are

Brant Menswar:

started online and it's 44 million people using dating apps every single

Brant Menswar:

day, just in the United States.

Brant Menswar:

I'm like, why has this not happened?

Brant Menswar:

We know the psychology works.

Brant Menswar:

It's been proven that it works.

Brant Menswar:

Why has no one taken this and said, if we know what you look for in a

Brant Menswar:

compatible mate, why can't we look for this in a compatible book?

Natasha Miller:

Or compatible music.

Natasha Miller:

Okay.

Natasha Miller:

Not to broaden your..

Brant Menswar:

Oh, listen, this is, you're looking at the long-term

Brant Menswar:

plan now of what we've built.

Brant Menswar:

Because it could be restaurants, it could be movies, it could be music.

Brant Menswar:

It could be anything that we wanted it to be.

Brant Menswar:

So the idea of what we did was rather than try to sell the off.

Brant Menswar:

And rather than just allowing somebody to read the back of a book and hopefully

Brant Menswar:

it connects, or most people get recommendations from friends or family.

Brant Menswar:

Why don't we use the same emotional connection that people have on a dating

Brant Menswar:

app that they want to swipe right.

Brant Menswar:

On someone that they're interested in.

Brant Menswar:

And so we took nine questions from real dating apps and we simply crafted a book

Brant Menswar:

review in the answers to those questions.

Brant Menswar:

So we are getting people emotionally connected to books

Brant Menswar:

like they've never done before.

Brant Menswar:

They actually have a conversation with the book.

Brant Menswar:

When you swipe right on a book, it goes to your DMS and it sends

Brant Menswar:

you messages that are like, "Oh my God, I can't believe we matched.

Brant Menswar:

Do you want to meet up in real life?"

Natasha Miller:

It's very clever.

Natasha Miller:

It's really clever.

Natasha Miller:

Really well done.

Natasha Miller:

The app looks great.

Natasha Miller:

It's really cool.

Natasha Miller:

So if people are listening to this, I just want to wake you up.

Natasha Miller:

Because Brent has a very soothing, beautiful voice and go download

Natasha Miller:

right now, the Booky Call app.

Natasha Miller:

And then you can see for yourself, but keep going.

Brant Menswar:

Yes, we did.

Brant Menswar:

We wanted to the namesake of the app, this was the, how are we

Brant Menswar:

going to service the lazy reader?

Brant Menswar:

That's ultimately what we were talking about.

Brant Menswar:

And so here's a little known fact that I don't think I've even told anybody.

Brant Menswar:

That's the initial name of the app was by Bindr.

Brant Menswar:

And we were going to use that..

Natasha Miller:

You mean like Grindr but Bindr?

Brant Menswar:

Yes.

Natasha Miller:

I don't know.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah.

Brant Menswar:

So it was, we're going to do this whole thing with

Brant Menswar:

being bound books the whole bit.

Brant Menswar:

It was this whole thing using Bindr.

Brant Menswar:

And then..

Natasha Miller:

That could go a lot of ways.

Brant Menswar:

Yes.

Brant Menswar:

And that was part of the, even with Booky Call, you're walking a very tight line.

Natasha Miller:

And the way you say it is really cute, because you've

Natasha Miller:

really adapted it to booty call.

Natasha Miller:

So you're saying Booky Call.

Natasha Miller:

I haven't quite gone there.

Natasha Miller:

I'm still calling it Booky Call.

Brant Menswar:

Two things happened with that.

Brant Menswar:

So we knew we wanted to call it Booky Call.

Brant Menswar:

And so we created the character of Boo from Booky Call.

Brant Menswar:

So we are the logo, everything that you see, the monocle and the hat and a

Brant Menswar:

mustache made of a book the whole bit that's boo, the host of the podcast.

Brant Menswar:

And the idea was you would understand that BU is the person making your

Brant Menswar:

recommendations in Buki call.

Brant Menswar:

And so that was how we were training people to say, Buki.

Brant Menswar:

But really the namesake was on Wednesday nights and Saturday nights

Brant Menswar:

in the middle of the night, you get a text from the app that says "You up?"

Natasha Miller:

I know.

Natasha Miller:

"Can I come over?"

Brant Menswar:

That's right.

Brant Menswar:

It gives you three recommendations of potential book ups.

Brant Menswar:

And so for us, it's all tongue in cheek.

Brant Menswar:

But the design of the app, when you do something as kitschy as Booky Call as a

Brant Menswar:

name, the app better be frigging amazing, or it's going to be left out the window.

Brant Menswar:

And in the design of..

Natasha Miller:

It's a very formidable app, like I'm very technically forward and

Natasha Miller:

I'm into technology and it's really good.

Natasha Miller:

Keep going.

Brant Menswar:

It needs to feel like a speakeasy.

Brant Menswar:

That was our entire design motif.

Brant Menswar:

If you looked at the mood board and the whole..

Natasha Miller:

I'm looking at it right now and I know some

Natasha Miller:

people are going to watch this.

Brant Menswar:

Yeah, and the idea was, can we make it look and feel elevated

Brant Menswar:

so that it balances out the name.

Brant Menswar:

And I think we accomplished that.

Brant Menswar:

And now it's just a matter of proving that you're going to be around a year

Brant Menswar:

from now when we deal with, especially the large, the big publishers.

Natasha Miller:

So I'm a new author and I'm going to ask you

Natasha Miller:

questions the listeners might have, I also will take them along and

Natasha Miller:

speed them up on how it's done.

Natasha Miller:

I'm one of the authors on Booky Call and I am able then to do some other

Natasha Miller:

promotional things on the app, which I haven't engaged with yet, but in

Natasha Miller:

the works, ultimately you're taking people off the app into where they can

Natasha Miller:

buy the book, which is Amazon links.

Natasha Miller:

Is it also Barnes and Noble links?

Natasha Miller:

Is it just Amazon?

Brant Menswar:

So it's bookshop.org and Amazon and libro.fm, depending on..

Brant Menswar:

Okay.

Natasha Miller:

And so my question to your team was this, because I come

Natasha Miller:

from a media buying background and I have to be scrappy and I have to, in

Natasha Miller:

most places be able to measure an ROI.

Natasha Miller:

So you get the data on who's swiping, right?

Natasha Miller:

And I know that people are on your app for a long time, which is amazing,

Natasha Miller:

especially with the attention span that's happening these days, but you're not able

Natasha Miller:

to parlay yet, specifically the buys.

Brant Menswar:

So we can never tell specifically the buys and that's

Brant Menswar:

because of Amazon to be quite honest.

Natasha Miller:

Is there any way to embed a code or secret flag and then

Natasha Miller:

what brands and then what happens?

Brant Menswar:

Here's the challenge when you work with Amazon,

Brant Menswar:

here's the challenge of many.

Brant Menswar:

This is especially for anybody who is an affiliate marketer, right?

Brant Menswar:

Because that's ultimately what we are is we're an affiliate marketing

Brant Menswar:

company that is very clever.

Brant Menswar:

And so Amazon's affiliate links expire after 24 hours.

Brant Menswar:

Yeah.

Brant Menswar:

So if they don't buy the book in the first 24 hours, you

Brant Menswar:

don't get credit for that book.

Brant Menswar:

You don't even know if they bought the book.

Brant Menswar:

Okay.

Natasha Miller:

First of all, backing it up.

Natasha Miller:

I just didn't understand or pay attention that you were an affiliate.

Natasha Miller:

It's totally cool that you are.

Natasha Miller:

And so you're going to get a piece of whatever the sale is.

Brant Menswar:

Four percent.

Natasha Miller:

Okay, whatever.

Natasha Miller:

Awesome.

Natasha Miller:

Awesome that you're getting a piece of it.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

But then what are you going to do with my books tomorrow?

Natasha Miller:

So for the code, for the thousand people that are going

Natasha Miller:

to buy it tomorrow on your app?

Brant Menswar:

Yes.

Natasha Miller:

So refresh that every day?

Brant Menswar:

No, it doesn't happen.

Brant Menswar:

It's a one-time code.

Brant Menswar:

So if we don't get it in the first 24 hours, we don't get credit for it.

Brant Menswar:

So when we first launched, we were structured as a full-on

Brant Menswar:

affiliate marketing company and these different affiliates.

Brant Menswar:

So Bookshop and Amazon and Libro, and some of the other ones that

Brant Menswar:

we had initially talked to.

Brant Menswar:

It makes it really tough to compete with Amazon, right?

Brant Menswar:

Because they're the gorilla in the room and you can't ignore them if you want,

Brant Menswar:

especially for us, because we grew wide much faster than we anticipated.

Brant Menswar:

So we thought we're going to end up with mostly North American users

Brant Menswar:

and that's what it's going to be.

Brant Menswar:

And then what the reality was, we grew huge 200 countries.

Natasha Miller:

How did that happen?

Brant Menswar:

Google ads.

Natasha Miller:

Are you also doing that in-house?

Brant Menswar:

In-house.

Brant Menswar:

Everything's in-house.

Brant Menswar:

So I'll tell you what happened.

Brant Menswar:

We got really lucky.

Brant Menswar:

And when we launched the app, there's a group within Google

Brant Menswar:

that sort of works specifically.

Brant Menswar:

They considered to be high potential apps and you get access to some of

Brant Menswar:

the machine learning of the Google ads, stuff that you don't get.

Brant Menswar:

If you don't spend a bunch of money with them, they reached out to.

Brant Menswar:

And one of the people on this team just fell in love with the app

Brant Menswar:

and she's I just want to help.

Brant Menswar:

So we just want to work with you.

Brant Menswar:

We believe there's massive growth here.

Brant Menswar:

There's nothing like you, there is no competition in the market yet.

Brant Menswar:

So we said, okay.

Brant Menswar:

And we committed to for us a substantial amount of monthly, which I'm sure

Brant Menswar:

to most organizations is nothing.

Brant Menswar:

It's a drop in the bucket, but when you're a startup, every time you're squeezing.

Natasha Miller:

And let's talk about startup really quick.

Natasha Miller:

You're self-funded bootstrapped at this point, at the point we're talking

Brant Menswar:

about now.

Brant Menswar:

Okay.

Brant Menswar:

We're still, yeah, we are still, everything is friends

Brant Menswar:

and family investors.

Brant Menswar:

That's all we have.

Brant Menswar:

So Google took us in and said, here's what you need to do.

Brant Menswar:

And they gave me like this masterclass in how to maximize your Google ad spend

Brant Menswar:

and figure out how to use their machine learning to the best of its ability.

Brant Menswar:

So we did.

Brant Menswar:

And we ended up getting our CPIs, our cost per install, down to 15 cents.

Brant Menswar:

And so we were getting 5,000 installs a day.

Brant Menswar:

No.

Brant Menswar:

We had one scenario where there's a very large book club on Facebook

Brant Menswar:

called bitchy bookworms, which.

Brant Menswar:

And you should join it.

Brant Menswar:

It's a great place for people to share about books and the app went viral

Brant Menswar:

and bitchy bookworm, and they crashed the app because it has 80,000 members.

Natasha Miller:

That's so cool.

Natasha Miller:

That's so cool.

Natasha Miller:

I'm writing it down now.

Brant Menswar:

We love them, but we were very frustrated at the same time.

Brant Menswar:

Wow.

Brant Menswar:

They have been very good too, and for us yeah.

Natasha Miller:

So that's cool.

Natasha Miller:

So let's talk about funding future you're bootstrapping you and your

Natasha Miller:

partner are putting money into this.

Natasha Miller:

Do you have a budget?

Natasha Miller:

Are you limiting it or yourself?

Natasha Miller:

Are you just going crazy and okay.

Natasha Miller:

To mortgage your home.

Natasha Miller:

Okay.

Natasha Miller:

To sell a few of those guitars behind you are you just balls out going for it?

Brant Menswar:

So it's a yes.

Brant Menswar:

And right.

Brant Menswar:

We've invested a significant amount of money into this, and we have a

Brant Menswar:

reserve in that we know we can go, man, probably the end of the year and still

Brant Menswar:

be fine based on our sort of monthly budget that we have set for what we're

Brant Menswar:

spending and how things are happening.

Brant Menswar:

The app is growing really fast on the reader side.

Brant Menswar:

It's now earning the trust of authors and publishers on the other side, because they

Brant Menswar:

paid to put their book in our library.

Brant Menswar:

And so it's a slow burn to earn that, they all want to do beta tests.

Brant Menswar:

They all want to see the data.

Brant Menswar:

They all want to do all these things, which is fine.

Brant Menswar:

It just takes time.

Brant Menswar:

And so you got to have your book in the library for more than a week to

Brant Menswar:

get a significant amount of data.

Brant Menswar:

And so that's where we're at right now.

Brant Menswar:

We are talking about.

Brant Menswar:

Doing another round of funding, just because we want to keep as much as what

Brant Menswar:

we have to be able to make the decisions without it getting sticky and too heavy.

Brant Menswar:

And on the VC side of things of just giving up too much control, we have

Brant Menswar:

big plans for what this is going to be and how this is going to work.

Brant Menswar:

What you are experiencing is still the MVP.

Brant Menswar:

It's still the first version of this thing, and we have some really big plans.

Brant Menswar:

Live events for speed dating events and bookstores all over the country.

Brant Menswar:

And the app allows us to do that.

Brant Menswar:

We can send notifications to people within 10 miles of this particular location.

Natasha Miller:

You do have great information then at your fingertips.

Natasha Miller:

It's wonderful.

Natasha Miller:

So I'm interpreting that you would prefer to skip the venture part and

Brant Menswar:

just the bring more than for me, they have to bring

Brant Menswar:

more than money to the table.

Brant Menswar:

It's not about the money so much for us.

Brant Menswar:

Fortunately, we'd never shark tank it ever by.

Brant Menswar:

We know people who have been on that show and what they've had to give up that

Brant Menswar:

has nothing to do with an offer on the table, by the way, it's what you give up

Brant Menswar:

to the producers for being on the show.

Brant Menswar:

And it's just not worth it.

Brant Menswar:

On the surface.

Brant Menswar:

It's great.

Brant Menswar:

Again, for what we do, this has been an exercise in creating

Brant Menswar:

a new sort of genre, right?

Brant Menswar:

There's nothing that exists.

Brant Menswar:

That's like us, you don't go onto apple store or Google play

Brant Menswar:

and search for book dating.

Brant Menswar:

There's no keyword that is going to help you find our app in an easy way.

Brant Menswar:

You have to jump through three or four stones or a couple of hoops

Brant Menswar:

before you get to where we are.

Brant Menswar:

And it's been a really difficult thing for us to find the right places to

Brant Menswar:

put money behind, because it's not anything that has existed prior to now.

Natasha Miller:

So what is your advisory board look like?

Natasha Miller:

Or do you have fun?

Natasha Miller:

Yeah,

Brant Menswar:

we do.

Brant Menswar:

The way that we built it was we had five pillars that we wanted people who.

Brant Menswar:

We're very well-versed in each of the pillars.

Brant Menswar:

And we went after people who fit that role.

Brant Menswar:

And so that's how we filled our advisory board.

Brant Menswar:

So we have have someone in the publishing space.

Brant Menswar:

We have someone in the VC fundraising space.

Brant Menswar:

We have someone in the tech data programming space.

Brant Menswar:

We have someone in the networking marketing space.

Brant Menswar:

We have five seats on our board and.

Brant Menswar:

Every single one of them has a very specific role.

Brant Menswar:

They play on that board.

Brant Menswar:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

That's good to know.

Natasha Miller:

So we talked a little bit, we can infer your biggest challenges and your number

Natasha Miller:

one strategy for growth, but I'd like to give you the opportunity to say them.

Natasha Miller:

So for starting today, what is your number one strategy for growth?

Natasha Miller:

Going on for the rest of the year.

Natasha Miller:

Is there one thing that's like top of the list that you're just going to nail?

Brant Menswar:

I don't know that there's one specific thing.

Brant Menswar:

We sort of work in a spider web.

Brant Menswar:

And what I would say is that the things we have to make sure happen is people

Brant Menswar:

need to know that we exist, which is a big hurdle for us because of the sort of

Brant Menswar:

market that doesn't exist in our category.

Brant Menswar:

The second thing is it's got to be quality books.

Brant Menswar:

That we have in our library.

Natasha Miller:

Are you jurying them then?

Brant Menswar:

Yeah.

Brant Menswar:

You can't just put your book in a library.

Brant Menswar:

There's a process of, I made it through, you did make it through

Brant Menswar:

and we don't judge on content.

Brant Menswar:

That's sort of something for us that is important.

Brant Menswar:

We can't be content police per se.

Brant Menswar:

But what we do judge on is a shittily written book.

Brant Menswar:

And so if it's got a ton of misspelled words or the structure's not there,

Brant Menswar:

there's fragments everywhere.

Brant Menswar:

It's not going to, it has to be professionally edited

Brant Menswar:

in order to have a shot.

Brant Menswar:

We have 20 genres of books that we represent.

Brant Menswar:

And if it's outside of those 20 genres, we tag it specifically with

Brant Menswar:

what it is, but there should be an umbrella genre that it fits under.

Brant Menswar:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

And then for today, if you and I were talking one-on-one

Natasha Miller:

which we are, but this is going to be aired to a lot of people.

Natasha Miller:

What would you say when filling this burden on Natasha?

Natasha Miller:

We really have this challenge and I'm trying to figure it out.

Natasha Miller:

What is it?

Natasha Miller:

What is it right now?

Brant Menswar:

Perception of value,

Natasha Miller:

right?

Natasha Miller:

Okay.

Natasha Miller:

Yeah.

Natasha Miller:

Perception of value.

Natasha Miller:

Let that sink in on both sides, right on the author and the readers,

Brant Menswar:

mostly on the author publisher side.

Brant Menswar:

Yes they are.

Brant Menswar:

Yes.

Brant Menswar:

And the real thing, that's been our, one of the biggest hurdles that

Brant Menswar:

we've had to face for those with.

Brant Menswar:

In the book business, or you've written a book, you've done things where you

Brant Menswar:

understand how the process works.

Brant Menswar:

There's a very short window from the time that you release your book

Brant Menswar:

before it falls off the planet.

Brant Menswar:

And it's usually a max of about 12 weeks at the end of 12 weeks,

Brant Menswar:

your sales significantly slow down.

Brant Menswar:

Like most of the 8 75, 80% of your book sales are going

Brant Menswar:

to happen in those 12 weeks.

Brant Menswar:

And then.

Brant Menswar:

For the rest of the life of the book, you'll make up that extra 25%.

Brant Menswar:

And that might be 10 years before you actually get to what that is.

Brant Menswar:

That mentality does not align with what we are offering in our app,

Brant Menswar:

which is a year's worth of math.

Brant Menswar:

Meaning that every time a new user joins our app and we have thousands

Brant Menswar:

and thousands of users who join our app every month, every time they join your

Brant Menswar:

book, if it's in what they say they like to read and immediately starts

Brant Menswar:

getting matched to these readers and.

Brant Menswar:

We've got 250,000 downloads already.

Brant Menswar:

So the idea here is that with about 40,000 monthly active users, these

Brant Menswar:

are users who are swiping on books.

Brant Menswar:

We get like this opportunity to put your book in front of

Brant Menswar:

people every single day for.

Brant Menswar:

And most authors and publishers don't know how to process that.

Brant Menswar:

They're thinking I need to do a banner ad on Amazon.

Brant Menswar:

I need to do this ad in a newsletter I need, but it's all for a

Brant Menswar:

moment or for a one-shot deal.

Brant Menswar:

It's I'm going to appear in this one thing one time and it costs me $1,500

Brant Menswar:

and that's, I hope that enough people see it and click on it and maybe that's it.

Brant Menswar:

What we offer is one.

Brant Menswar:

People are forced to make a decision on your book.

Brant Menswar:

They either have to say, yes, I want to add this to my, to be read

Brant Menswar:

list or no, I'm not interested.

Natasha Miller:

And I would also say, as the author, with my book up

Natasha Miller:

there, it's a value to me for someone even who swiped left for them to

Natasha Miller:

see cover, it's an impression they might see it again somewhere else.

Natasha Miller:

And in their mind, there'll be like, It looks familiar.

Natasha Miller:

They might even think, yeah.

Natasha Miller:

I wanted to read that.

Natasha Miller:

Not even remembering that they swiped left on it,

Brant Menswar:

so we see all the data.

Brant Menswar:

And so we have an internal goal that.

Brant Menswar:

If we can't get 25% of the people to swipe right on your book, then we go

Brant Menswar:

back to the written profile and tweak.

Brant Menswar:

Yeah, that's amazing.

Natasha Miller:

You can do that now, but can you do that at scale?

Natasha Miller:

And the answer will be if you scale, if you plan to scale well, I have

Natasha Miller:

enough revenue to drive more head count because that's a very hands-on thing.

Natasha Miller:

It's not something you can automate.

Natasha Miller:

It's not something that you can,

Brant Menswar:

it's the skill of the writing staff.

Brant Menswar:

Right?

Brant Menswar:

And so fortunately for us thus far, we have 2000 books in our library right

Brant Menswar:

now, there is a very small number of books that fall below 20%, swipes.

Brant Menswar:

And that for us is a great sign that our writers are doing a great job.

Brant Menswar:

And if the quality of the writing goes down, We will be in trouble.

Brant Menswar:

So we are constantly looking for talented writers to become the people who

Brant Menswar:

write these dating profiles for books.

Natasha Miller:

For more information, go to the show notes where

Natasha Miller:

you're listening to this podcast.

Natasha Miller:

Want to know more about me, go to my website, official Natasha miller.com.

Natasha Miller:

Thank you so much for listening.

Natasha Miller:

I hope you loved the show.

Natasha Miller:

If you did, please subscribe also, if you haven't done so yet, please leave a review

Natasha Miller:

where you're listening to this podcast.

Natasha Miller:

I'm Natasha Miller and you've been listening to fascinating entrepreneurs.

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