Matthew Turner is a coffee-drinking Brit from the area of England famous for its tea. That sets the tone for Matthew’s renegade creator persona, and that’s just on the surface, like his handlebar mustache. Yep, that’s real!
Everything about Matthew is of the creative rebel persuasion with a large potion of humor, but he also gets a lot done.
Matthew Turner is the author of EIGHT published books—both, fiction and non-fiction—as of this podcast. He’s the founder of Turndog Publishing, where his bio says:
“I’m a writer, storyteller, father, and guy striving towards my own definition of freedom and success.” Matthew Turner
We can relate and chances are you can as well.
Matthew also helps millennial entrepreneurs align their business and mindset, so they build a lasting legacy, a value we share.
Matthew’s articles have been featured on Forbes, Entrepreneur, Product Hunt, Copy Blogger, and he’s been interviewed on EOFire and other prominent podcasts. Raising our coffee cup to Matthew Turner for taking the time to share his story, knowledge and experience with us. Cheers!
LeAura Alderson: This is the iCreateDaily Podcast, a movement for creators serious about their art. I’m LeAura.
Devani Alderson: And I’m Devani, and today we’re joined by Matthew Turner. Matthew is the founder Turndog Publishing, and he’s published seven books, six of them fiction, and one nonfiction. His bio says, “I’m a writer, storyteller, father, and guy striving towards my own definition of freedom and success,” which we love.
He also helps millennial entrepreneurs align their business and mindset, so they build a lasting legacy, other things that we’re about, too, so this is perfect. Matthew’s articles have been featured on Forbes, Entrepreneur, Product Hunt, Copy Blogger, and he’s been interviewed on EOFire and other prominent podcasts, and last but not least, he enjoys a rich cup of black coffee. Cheers to that.
Matthew Turner: The most important part of it.
Devani Alderson: Yeah.
LeAura Alderson: Yeah, I mean, you’re a Brit, so it’s coffee not tea, so that’s important to know.
Matthew Turner: Yeah, I am one of the rarities over here, I don’t do tea. I’m from a part of the country, as well, which is quite famous for its tea.
Devani Alderson: Oh, wow.
Matthew Turner: Go figure.
Devani Alderson: You’re a rebel.
Matthew Turner: I am.
Devani Alderson: This is where the entrepreneurial, rebellion started.
LeAura Alderson: It started early, right?
Matthew Turner: Started with my love for coffee, what can I say.
LeAura Alderson: So, where are you? You said a part of the country known for its tea, so where are you?
Matthew Turner: I’m in a little town called Halifax. We’re based in Yorkshire, which is the North of England, and one of the bigger brands, I won’t say, I couldn’t really tell you if it’s a good brand or not because I haven’t drunk a cup of tea since I was about seven, but Yorkshire tea is quite a famous one. From where I live, people enjoy a good cup of tea, but I’m one of the rarities. Although coffee is popular too, especially these days. Coffee is just expanding all the time, so I’m quite lucky. More and more good coffee shops are opening up where I live all the time, so I get to write there, and I get to just drink coffee there. It’s what I do, it’s what I love.
Devani Alderson: You started the revolution.
LeAura Alderson: Yeah.
Matthew Turner: I don’t know if I quite started it, but yeah let’s go with that.
LeAura Alderson: Let’s go with that, sounds good. You heard it here first.
Matthew Turner: There you go.
LeAura Alderson: Matthew, we’re very inspired with your prolific creations. Seven books published plus an entrepreneurial coach and mentor and other things going on in your life. Hasn’t always been that way, you haven’t always been published, so how did you get started with the first one? How did you get started in this, where you’re basically living your passion?
Matthew Turner: Wow. It began way back. I’ve just turned 33 actually, and I started writing when I was around about 21. It was after a pretty rough breakup. I was in your ends of the world, I was in Kentucky. I basically worked at a summer camp throughout my 20s, so I spent a lot of summers in the Cincinnati area. There was one summer where I fell in love, and then I went home, and it was a tough breakup. One of the things which she suggested I do is to just write and show my feelings. I think she meant writings in a journal, but I didn’t go along that path. Before I knew it, an idea came, and it just blossomed, and then I thought, “Oh, I could maybe write a book.”
I hadn’t taken an English class since I was about 15, and I still haven’t taken an English class ever since. But what I’ve discovered since then and throughout my 20s is that I’ve had a fantastical love for storytelling. And I’m probably more creative in throughout my life, probably more than I give myself credit for. I always enjoyed to be creative, just not necessarily in the way of drawing and literature when I was younger, at least. But I’ve always been quite creative. I’ve always enjoyed stories, and I’ve always embraced storytelling.
Kind of skip forward to when I was about 27. I finally got to a stage where I was like, “Right, I’m either gonna finish this book, or not.” Because I’d finished writing it when I probably was around about 22, and I would leave it, and I would go back to it, and I would edit it, and I had these grand visions and dreams of, “Maybe it’ll get picked up by a publisher one day,” but of course I wouldn’t send it out. I didn’t send it to an agent. I didn’t really do anything with it.
I just got to a point where I was like, “Right, okay. I am going to give this book one final edit, and I am going to send it to an agent, and I will just see what comes of it. I’m gonna complete the process, because I’ve spent the last six years doing nothing with it. So I’m gonna complete the process, either it gets picked up or it doesn’t, but at least I feel like I can put it to bed.”
But in doing so, I started researching more and more, and I found self-publishing, and that led me into the online world, and I met online marketers and online writers. It just opened my eyes. I suppose I knew all these things existed, but I just wasn’t a part of it, and I just didn’t know what it actually involved. I was marketer, that’s my trade, so I thought, “Well, the hell with giving it to an agent. I’m a marketer, how about I just get it out there?” And I did. My first book was Beyond Parallel, I finally left my job so I could focus more on my own writing but also on some kind of marketing consultancy. I had no idea what it would look like at the time.
I should, in hindsight, have probably stayed in the working world longer, to both bring in a little bit more money, but also to find my [inaudible [00:05:38] In hindsight, I probably should have stayed in the working world longer, one to get some more money, but also to just figure out what I wanted to do, what value I was gonna bring to the table. But I didn’t do that, and I did release Beyond Parallel, and I self-published it, and straight after that I start writing on my next book, which is Tick to the Tock. Straight after that I started writing on my third novel, I Unlove You, and each one of these all had a few short stories aligned with them all.
Between all of this, I was working on The Success Mistake, which is my nonfiction book, and I interviewed a lot of people for that. It’s just been a journey of self discovery, really. I’ve learnt so much doing it all, and it all began with a rough break up. Hopefully that gives you a nice sort of snapshot, long-winded one, of how it all kind of began.
Devani Alderson: [crosstalk [00:06:30] Thanks to whoever the girl is from that one summer, right?
LeAura Alderson: Can you imagine?
Matthew Turner: That’s it, you know?
LeAura Alderson: I mean, what if, right?
Matthew Turner: Well, it’s funny that you say “What if,” because Beyond Parallel, the first book, is all about “What if.” That is basically the premise of this book, this idea of “What if.” I’ve always, I suppose, been quite curious about “What if,” and that year particular afterwards, I was all about “What if.” What if I’d have said this? What if I’d have done that? What if I’d have done this differently? Would my life be any different now? And I suppose I still look at that.
Like you say, what if that summer hadn’t have happened? Would I have found writing, still? Maybe, but maybe not. We could potentially all live a billion lives, and we’re only given one. It’s a fascinating and daunting and scary medium.
Devani Alderson: It’s a perfect medium for a writer though, because we’re writing about parallel realities that we make up. It makes sense.
LeAura Alderson: Yeah, definitely.
Matthew Turner: Absolutely. And it’s always, how you say [inaudible [00:07:35] it’s how I’ve made sense of things, is I’ve started writing more recently after a bit of a hiatus, and I feel so much more clear about things. Ideas spring forward. It’s amazing. Once you start putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard, the ideas spill forward, and then you can just take them and who knows what will come of it, but something good usually.
LeAura Alderson: Definitely. I want to touch back on a couple of things you said in the intro. So, you were working full time when you started your writing career, correct?
Matthew Turner: Yeah.
LeAura Alderson: So many in our audience are at that place where they know that they want to do something more than the job job, they want to do something from their soul, from their passion, something that they’re interested in and something creative, and yet they feel like they might have to do it full time in order for it to work. But you started part-time. You did say that maybe in retrospect you could have gone longer doing it part-time in order to build a more solid financial foundation, but it’s worked for you. You made it work. How did you make it work, during that time when you were working full time and then writing part-time? What was your daily schedule like? How disciplined and structured were you?
Matthew Turner: Compared to who I am today, not really that disciplined at all, to be honest. I suppose when I first started writing I was a student, so that was a little bit easier because you do have a bit more unstructured time as a student, especially when I was doing my Masters. But I did have time to write in the evenings. When I got my job it was just a case of sitting down in the evening and saying, “I’m gonna write a blog post right now. I’m gonna do a little bit of editing. I’m gonna do a bit of this.”
I was quite always lucky to not have to strict of a job, too. They weren’t on my every move, so I would sometimes go in and still check on some comments, do a bit of this, do a bit of that. I just kind of made it work, but I didn’t really have a schedule as much. I just was exploring, and I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I felt like [inaudible [00:09:34] I knew, and in retrospect I just had no idea. I’m only just now getting to a point where I feel like I’m starting to properly understand what it looks like.
But hey, speak to me in five years time, and I might still be in [inaudible [00:09:47]. In retrospect, I didn’t. You don’t even know what you know. But I would like to touch upon this idea of people still at work. One and two branch off and do something on their own and take that passion further. There’s a couple of key things which I’ve learned, and if I could go back again, I would probably do this.
This first is, it’s crazy to just [inaudible [00:10:12] upon your own life. Have that job or do some freelance, do something to keep it coming in. Not just for the money, because it forces you to work on your passion when you’re tired. You learn so much during that period. If you’re having to build something, whether it’s writing, or podcasting, drawing, design, whatever. If you have to [inaudible [00:10:33] that after a long day of working or studying and you’re tired, and you’re still doing that and after several months you’re still enjoying it, that says that it really is a passion to stick around.
Another thing I’ve also learnt from other people more than from myself, is that once you start doing it, test it. Get it out there. And once you feel you’ve got to a point where you could potentially leave your job and go out on your own, stick at it for at least another three or four months. Because that extra three or four months, you’ll build greater traction, you’ll earn more money, you’ll save more money, and again it’s forcing you to appreciate that it’s not just about the passion. That your passion also has to have purpose.
And then this is final point until I let it back over to your fine selves, is passion alone is never enough. You need to have passion and purpose. If all you’ve got is purpose and you’re not passionate about your work, I think you’ll get to a point where it’ll just feel like a job. But if all you’ve got is passion and there’s no purpose to it, you’ve basically got a hobby.
It’s about finding and validating that what you do is something that you love, and it’s something that you’re good at, and something that you bring value to the table, but also making sure that there’s a purpose to it, that it’s helping other people. It’s providing a service, and those people are willing to pay for it. Because if you don’t have that, you don’t really have a business, and you don’t really have a career. And that’s something I’m still learning myself. It’s something I’m still constantly evaluating and going, “Have I got the balance right between this passion and purpose?” At times I think I do, at times I think I don’t. But stick at it, and if you can do that, and make sure there’s passion plus purpose, and then you validate and you keep at it for at least three or four months longer than you think it should, you’ve set the foundations for such great success.
LeAura Alderson: I love that. That is so important, and it’s such great advice, really. We’re gonna make sure that … In fact, we’re gonna send that out in an email to our people to make sure they get those three points, because that’s so impactful. We’ve often talked about here, it’s sort of like the things that … In particularly as Devani was growing and her brother were growing up from homeschooling and sometimes other schools, in and out, you know how kids … All of us really latch on to different things that we think we would love to do, but really, the proof is in the pudding. Where the rubber meets the road is, if it is that we’re compelled to do it even when we’re tired. So that’s such an excellent point.
Matthew Turner: For instance, at the minute I’ve been liking yoga a lot recently. I’ve kind of got into it in the last couple of years, and I do it. But I don’t do it all that often. I do it like once a week, and if I got to a point right now and say, “Well, I like yoga, I get a lot from yoga, I’m passionate about yoga. Maybe I’ll do it two times a week.” And then I do it two times a week. Well then I just, “You know what? I’m gonna become a yoga teacher and it’s gonna be my life. I’m gonna leave the corporate world and just do that.”
And it would just be a crazy thing to do, because I don’t know what it’s like to do yoga every single day, let alone do it every single day, several times each day. Do you love yoga enough for that? You don’t know until you do it, so it would be a case of do it two times a week, do it three time a week, take a course, throw yourself into that world. And after six months of doing so and then maybe another six months of doing a few classes here and there were you teach part-time, and you still you come back and go, “I love yoga. I love what it does for me personally, I love helping other people do yoga.”
That’s when you know that actually, “Yeah, I could be a yoga instructor.” But just going to a couple of classes a week and having a passion in that way doesn’t mean that you’re gonna find a passion enough to have that be your world. And it’s exactly the same with things like writing. Some people enjoy writing in the sense of, they like to write for five minutes in their journal every morning. But do they love writing enough to write a book? To write for six, seven hours a day? To do all the edits and do everything else? You don’t know until you try it.
Devani Alderson: Yeah, that’s such a good point, and it’s so practical, too. Because a lot of times we hear a lot of advice of, “Go try different things,” but it’s not just trying different things, because you can be … For me, for instance, I can be very, very passionate about this and that, but when you really sit down and examine like you were saying, “Okay, do I actually have a purpose behind doing this? Is there something deeper here that’s bringing me joy besides just doing the thing?” In terms of turning it into a career.
I mean, it’s fine to have your hobbies. That’s great. I think it inspires a lot of creativity in people.
LeAura Alderson: And relaxation.
Devani Alderson: And relaxation and ideas, and it just generates positive, healthy energy in your life. But you have to back it up with the practical of like, “Okay, do you like this enough to put in the 10,000 hours to become the expert?” Type thing, you know? “Are you going to put in the time it takes to become the key person in this field of endeavor?”
LeAura Alderson: And especially knowing that basically a lot of that means alone time just working hard. When you’re writing, it’s just you and the page, the computer, and it’s a long haul to bring the book from inception to completion.
Matthew Turner: It’s a labor of love. Whenever I speak to an author who’s brought out a book, at least one who’s written the book themselves and are passionate about it, it’s a true labor of love. We love it. I love to write, and I love the writing process. Even to an extent, I love the editing process, because it allows you to turn something that was once maybe just a conceptual idea into actual … “I feel like this could help certain people. I feel like this could have an impact.”
But the editing process is so hard. It’s so drawn out, and the fact is, by the time you publish your book, you just are sick and tired of your book. You got to a point where you have to now promote and say to people, “Yeah, you should read my...