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Russell Nohelty is the Owner of The Complete Creative and the Host of The Complete Creative Podcast.
The Complete Creative teaches you how to market your creativity, whether you're an artist, an author, or anthologist. They have programs designed to help you make great content, build an audience, launch better products, and supercharge your creative career.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, we're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
And with us right now, we've got Russell Nohelty. Russell, you have well you wear a lot of hats. You're the owner of The Complete Creative, your publisher with Wannabe Press. You're the CEO of a tech store, serial entrepreneur. You're a comic book writer, USA Today, best selling author. You're the host of the complete creative podcast and the creator of The Complete Creative training academy. Russell, you're busy Man.
Yeah, you know, it's funny because people always talk about how busy I must be. But I actually get my work done in like six or eight hours a day. So I just very, very good at productivity, which is great now in this day and age, because now I have a lot of time to focus on all of the all of the big items that are that are flooding my inbox, while all of my companies kind of run in the background. Hmm.
Well, I mean, I think that's kind of the dream is to set up systems, get them performing, and then not have to babysit them quite so much and get things they're a little bit more system dependent instead of people dependent as Michael Gerber would talk about.
Absolutely, I I like to say that like two of my companies run in the background, while the third one gets all of my attention, but I don't know which one it will be any given month. So it's nice to have multiple lines of income in multiple different industries that I've To work in so that if I ever get bored of one I just shift to another or there's always something to be done in one of those three ideas.
So to the folks that are watching this interview on our YouTube channel and you can eat by the way, you can go to youtube.com and just youtube.com/upmyinfluence and, and you can see Russell you got a couple books in the background that are that keep drawing my attention. One it says Cthulhu Cthulhu I am i i'm not pronouncing right. It's
Cthulhu its Cthulhu. But the great thing about Lovecraft is that he didn't settle on a spelling or pronunciation during his life. So you can pretty much say anything but pretty much standardized pronunciation is Cthulhu Mm hmm.
And what Tell me about the two books you've got is are those one of those your USA Today bestselling book.
Now those are comic books I've got my best selling author for for an anthology that we that I that I was part of, but these are Cthulhu as artists As our singular most popular book, it's about it's 35 stories about the Gods and Monsters of HP Lovecraft and then Ichabod Jones Monster Hunter is our most beloved book. It's about a site. It's about a mental patient that escapes from a mental asylum and becomes a monster hunter doesn't know if he's killing monsters humans are it's all in his head the whole time. So most of my business is taking these books on Kickstarter and then doing shows with them around the country. And not just these books, but we have kind of this whole stack under them are also books that we publish and produce.
My goodness. Alright, so now your background, you actually have a degree in journalism, and you worked in broadcast journalism in DC. Talk, share a little bit about what you did, because kind of cool.
So I worked on Capitol Hill. So the company that I worked for would be paid by news organizations Fox, MSNBC, local affiliates, comedy Central event I think I did a shot for once, where so we would go into the Capitol building or the White House. And we would, we would set up interviews with, like john mccain or, or john cosine or Barbara Boxer or one of the one of the congressmen and we would set it up and then they would live stream and to wherever they were conducting the interview, it would go live, and then we would go home. So it was pretty cool. We also had a live studio in our office. So sometimes people would come in and do live studio hits there as well.
And Russell, so today again, you know, you're kind of at the helm of a number of different businesses. Why is that an advantage and, and I would imagine that there's some inherent disadvantages to, to having that many things going. But what's your summation of that?
Well, the advantage is that I have pretty consistent income Cross across the year. So there are certain high seasons for things like our kicks, our books, generally go on Kickstarter a couple of times a year. And then we have a couple of big months for shows. And so that sort of handles that, that business. That's where they're those those, those, those months are very high for the wannabe press part of it. Then we do launches for the courses. And I do marketing for people during certain times of the year as well. And so that's a certain high point for for those for that business. And then for wavelength, my Verizon dealership that usually has other times of the year that it is that is big. So I have a pretty consistently across the entire year. A pretty decent income, because that's because two are kind of cratered, and one is kind of carrying the rest of the business along. The other good thing is that when you have something like I don't know a global pandemic, you can say well My, my publishing company is now lost most of its income for the year, which is going to live conventions but I still do have marketing services, I still do have courses I still can call businesses and and and my reps at our Verizon dealership can talk to businesses about lowering their Bell and changing carriers and getting upgrades for their phones and offs, all sorts of things. So there's, there's, there's inherent disadvantages that when you're, it's hard to push really hard on any one thing. So you because you're always being drawn between things are always kind of going from one to the next to the next to the next. And so, you're not, you're not able to just I'm not able to distribute my revenue quite the way that I would want to to maximize any one company because I need it to fund three companies. But that being said, I still prefer having multiple streams of income. Come in multiple revenue and even with the, the books. So with the books, we also we have convention sales and also digital sales. There's two different streams of revenue there. With training academy, we have the podcasts, we have the courses, and we have the marketing services. So there's three streams of income there. And so there's multiple streams inside each stream as well, which means if any one are to dry up, I can always rely on the other thing and it just helps really helps to have a robust lineup so that you are fluent in whatever the industry trend is at the time. So we just, I just ran my first virtual conference, because it was sort of the intersection of my podcast, my courses, and the fact that I do conventions about 30 to 40 times a year and then I speak on stage quite a bit so. So that all allowed me to once the convention started canceling I was able to using all of these disparate things that I've learned And across all of my companies create something brand new that was quite successful for us.
Yeah. So now in in the world of marketing so are you working with creatives authors? Who do you serve?
Mostly authors for the marketing agency, but I serve all creatives, I help all creatives build better businesses, specifically ones that sell products, less so ones that sell services, but when you're selling artwork, or selling books, or selling some sort of selling courses, some sort of product that you're trying to monetize. That's really the people that that we serve.
And and so what are best practices like what do you you know, what is the crux of where you see creatives maybe not doing a very good job at and what do you generally say, okay, he, here's what you need to be doing.
So generally, and this is not just for creatives, this is pretty much everybody, but especially Especially creatives, they are very good at creating a thing. And they're horrible at building attention for that thing, or getting, or building an audience for that thing, or trying or going out and finding new ways to bring new fans into their communities. So, for me, it's all about community and fan base and turning somebody who is who is maybe on the fence or doesn't know who you are into a rabid fan. I, I we add probably roughly 10,000 emails a month to our email list. And of those, something like 9000 of them get chopped in the first six months because they just aren't. They aren't good. They aren't the cut. They don't respond to the way that I teach or the way that I talk. I talk in very blunt manner. I'm quite practical in the things that I say I generally don't sugarcoat things. And look, I curse sometimes I tried to curse on air I tried to curse in my emails, but like I do have that kind of raw rebellious energy. And that is what the the right person to read my work is going to respond to the right person to hear my message is going to respond to. And I learned a long time ago that if you're in a room with 100 people and four people are speaking, you're lucky if 10 of those hundred people are going to come over and really respond to the thing you say. And the thing is, you just have to keep getting in front of new groups of people while you have this attractive character you've created to draw the right people in so so either people don't know who they're, they're marketing to, which I hear all the time, right is I have no idea who I wrote this book for, or they don't know what product that they should be making for the few people who are in their audience now, or if they have that magical link between product and customer, then they don't know how to go out, find new people bring them in and turn them into rabid fans. And they definitely don't know how to scale it. So I have a course called build a rabid fan base. And that's the four sections is like build your perfect person, find your perfect person, build products for them. develop a system that you can go out and bring people who don't know you in, move them through your funnel and get basically rabid fans out the bottom and Chuck everybody else, and then just scale it and keep finding new ways to get people into your audience. Secondarily, people are very, very bad at sticking to a product. I was shocked when I started releasing novels because I usually I spent a long time releasing comic books and I sold the same book for five years or more. And I just kept hammering that same product into people's heads at the same shows and like that book still sells our equity. Buck Jones book is now in its eighth printing. And I've it's been out of print, I think for six months in its whole timeframe that it's been that it's been part of my company, but I just kept hammering that same book. And when I go and talk to artists or other people, they, they move on so quickly, they do one launch, and then they run to the next thing. And then next thing and the next thing and they're never able to build that, that fan base because they're always looking for the next thing. But the problem with marketing today is that it's so hard to break through with anything that you it's sort of like a balloon, you push, you push your finger down on 10 points in a balloon, it's very hard to pop it but if you push one finger down and put all your pressure on it, it will pop very quickly. So I I'm always trying to tell people that the way that they're looking at doing series or or different Things is wrong because they're they're moving on too quickly, they're not able to build that fan base, you do have the disadvantage, though of you when you are, when you are, are moving forward with something and doesn't have that critical mass or it's not quite good enough where it doesn't quite hit the market that like you're going to push hard. And it's, and it's like, not going to break through. So at the beginning, you do kind of want to do a bunch of different stuff, because you don't know what's going to be the thing that hits and then when something hits, and that's when you double and triple and quadruple down on it. Because you know now that where you're going to where you're going to get the best return.
You know, that's really interesting. So a couple things I heard you say that I think are really important. And I'm going to ask you about each of these just a little bit. So number one, know who your audience is. And I think a lot of times we were very a lot of people are very Very sensitive to not wanting to offend anybody. And so because of that, they really don't get on their soapbox, right? They don't really, you know, have their issue that they are just all in 100% geeking out in this one thing, because they're like, oh, but what about the other 80% of the population 80% of the population was never going to give you money. But if the 20% or 10% or even 1%, like, they're like, Oh my gosh, I really resonate with this. I love this. Like, they're never going to get the opportunity to connect with you because they just don't feel that passion in what you do. And I think you know, the second point to kind of dovetail along with that, is that you said that, you know, I think a lot of times we'll create a work of art or a book of art or something like that. We'll put it out there. You're like, Okay, well, you know, it's old. Some of that. I guess. Everybody's sick of it. Now, Tom Move on to something else. All right. And so it's like, Listen, just because, you know, you could produce an album and entire album worth of music every month, that doesn't mean that you should, you know, instead maybe produce something really great and spend an entire year and a half promoting that one thing as opposed to, you know, 10 new songs every single month.
Absolutely. And this is not just for creatives, either. You see this in all sorts of businesses you see this in the one that I'm most familiar with is course creators because they kind of like straddle business and creativity, but they are constantly putting out a new product every like three to six months and, and it is important to like, get the people to be excited about about your next thing as well and service the people you already have. But you still have to go out and find new people. But to go back to your first point about not knowing who your audience is. You know, that's why you get so many people sending planned emails that you don't care about, like, I don't care about 99.9% of the emails that I get because there's no voice there. There's no energy, there's, they don't know who they're talking to. Or they're trying to talk to too many people. And the worst part about business that I've learned is not that 10% of people will love you, a 10% of people will hate you. It's that 80% of people literally don't care like you could die tomorrow and they would not even they would not mourn you at all. And that's the hardest part to get to like you can't make those people really move the needle. You can't make the people that hate you or easily go into if you do it right. And you can I mean, like, whenever I go on somewhere I'm not the human being I'm not this human like with my wife at home like I'm I'm like expressing more of the kinds of tells that I've I'm trying to draw in from the right kind of person, and also repel the wrong kind of person immediately so that not because the wrong person is bad, but it's just, they're not the person to hear the message that I'm trying to stay, they may not be in the industry, they may not just, they may need a softer style, they may, they may just not be at the right point in their career to hear the thing that I'm saying. And maybe in a year they will be but what if, for whatever reason, they're not the right person. But I'm trying to make sure that the right people in that other 90%, who don't care, the 10%, who will really love it, perk up and take notice, like you said, and I do that in books, I try and write very similar to lead to how I talk and very similarly to how I express myself on video, and everything kind of goes to construct to this overall a message and it's because I very, very clearly know who I'm who I'm targeting. And each of my companies I know exactly who I'm targeting. I know the what a reader wants to read in my work and why they love it and the kind of person also I've met now thousands of them who like my book, and I know kind of the personality traits that that that that they exhibit, I know where the people are in my creative Academy and the people that are most likely to respond to my work that have the lowest customer acquisition cost and the highest lifetime value. And so once you have that, you then are wonderfully empowered to know exactly what you should make. And whenever someone comes and says, what should I make next? Or like, what should I be doing? I'm like, this is your way you're putting the cart before the horse, you need the audience and to tell you exactly what to make. And then once you do that, they'll consider it like magic. And that's That's kind of the trick because there's only two things in business like, we strip it all away. The two things in business are, there's a customer and a product. And all of the all of the work that we do is trying to find customer and make product for that customer. And once you can make that once you can understand that virtuous circle once you can understand how to the customer, and what they're saying they want but not just what they're saying they want but what they actually want. Because that's, that's a real skill that you have to develop, your customer will say one thing, but they'll really want another thing and you have to know what they're saying and actually what they want and how to how to interpret the words that are coming out of their mouth with like how which ones to follow, which ones not to follow. And all of that is a skill but once you have that customer and you are servicing them, it becomes incredibly easy to figure out what they want. Like it's it's stupid, easy to figure it out and then to find Find out where to go to bring more people into the into that audience all over the place.
Because then you can you can go where those if you market to Karen's, for example, like you know where the Karen's hang out. And so and then you could say well I could care less about the Julie's and the John's and all the other people. I'm only talking to Karen and so and and therefore I agree if Nick or Russell you're I want to call you Nick as in Nick Nolte, but Russell Nohelty you're making a lot of sense where would be a great place for people to start to engage with you,
particularly creatives? Sure. So if you're creative, I have a website called The Complete Creative where I have epic blog posts, free courses, paid courses, and the archive to my website to my podcasts, the complete creative, where I interview creators about how they built and sustain their career and if you if you love podcasts, I highly recommend you check it out. The differentiating factor between that show In so many other shows is that I am a six figure creator who's had a lot of success and creativity. I've been writing my own company for five years, and I'm interviewing other six figure creators about how they built and sustain their careers. So I am able to dig a lot deeper being a person who was actually doing it right now, most of the people who I have on 90 to 95% of them are people who I know who I respect and who I'm trying to dig deep on how they specifically got to the level of success that they've gotten. I tried to make it very, very accessible and open to everybody. It feels like a conversation. I when I tried to make it feel more fun because I think the show is a lot of fun. And I feel like I haven't mentioned the fun part of it enough. I just I've mentioned the business part. So it really is like two old friends sitting down and having a conversation over coffee and discussing their careers. But yeah, The Complete Creative or especially The Complete Creative Podcast would be a great place to start and See if it's the kind of thing that you like and and then that might work for you. We've got almost 200 episodes at this point.
Congratulations on that. All right, TheCompleteCreative.com. Russell Nohelty. Thank you so much for joining us he really great, great advice in this conversation. Thank you.
Thanks for having me.
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