Sandy: Your book should be your business card and, you know, no matter what you do, whether it’s create a product or a program or write a book or, you know, whatever you do, there’s people out there that want what you have and want the style that you offer and, you know, want your message the way that you present it. And so, any sort of limiting beliefs we have are only things that we put upon ourselves and the easiest way to get rid of them is just look for other people that have created the success that you want and just follow in their steps.
Introduction: Welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast with Bryan Collins. Here, you’ll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.
Bryan: Can you make a living from writing a book?
Hi, there. My name is Bryan Collins and welcome to the Become a Writer Today Podcast. Many people who want to write a book do it for one of three reasons: They have a story that they want to write, in which case fiction is probably a good idea unless you’re writing memoir; they want to make an impact so they have a message to share with the world; and they want to get paid, which means they want to earn an income.
Sometimes, you can cover all of those goals but figuring out which one is the most important to you will help you get through the painful first few months of writing that first draft.
Now, for years, I had this limiting belief that it was difficult for writers to earn a living from creative work, probably because I was working as a journalist at the time and I spent a year or two unemployed, I was a full-time stay-at-home dad and I was scratching around for freelance writing jobs that didn’t pay very well.
Over the years, I realized that it’s possible to earn a living from writing if you combine writing with other skills. So, if you are a good freelance writer, for example, it’s still a good idea to combine it with another skill like learning how to pitch for clients or learning the basics of copywriting, or learning how to build up a freelance portfolio of testimonials from happy clients so you can find more jobs.
Similarly, if you’re an author or a non-fiction author, it’s always a good idea to consider what other ways you can take the message from your non-fiction book and share it with people in different ways. So if you write a non-fiction book, could you turn some of the lessons in your book into a course or into a coaching program, or even into an opportunity for public speaking? Because the simple thing is one book or a couple of freelance writing gigs isn’t probably gonna be enough to pay the bills, but when you build up a body of work and when you have a business around your book, then you’re more likely to get paid to write.
And that’s what I did with Become a Writer Today so I earn an income from book sales, from courses, from advertising on certain parts of the site, and also from promoting software that I use and which I recommend, like Grammarly or ProWritingAid.
Now, all of that can seem like a lot if you’re just starting out and my advice for you is to always put the writing first because creative work should come before, you know, trying to earn an income. But once you put the writing first, then ask yourself, is there something that you can do or is there some way that you can work on your business a little bit every day?
So if you do one thing for your creative work, write 500 words in the morning, and if you do one thing for your creative business, it could be pitching a client, it could be starting your author website or it could be figuring out what type of course you’re going to create in the afternoon, then you’ll be able to have the best of both worlds. You’ll be creatively satisfied and you’ll also have food in the fridge at the end of the month.
One person who’s done that is Sandy Forster from Australia. She’s the author of the international bestseller How to Be Wildly Wealthy Fast, and Sandy has built a business around her book.
She offers coaching, she offers courses, and she’s also a public speaker. I recently caught up with Sandy and one of the key takeaways from this interview was how Sandy got clear on who her ideal reader is and on who she helps. One of my other key takeaways is that Sandy had some limiting beliefs about money earlier on in her life just after she got divorced but she was able to work through those limiting beliefs and now she’s earning money from her book that has sold over a quarter of a million copies since it was first published and also from her courses and public speaking.
If you found this week’s interview useful, please consider leaving a short review on iTunes or you can share the show on Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you’re listening. And if you’ve got feedback, please reach out to me on Twitter, it’s @bryanjcollins, because I’d love to hear from you and get your questions for me for future episodes. And, of course, you can become a Patreon supporter for the show. For just a couple of dollars a month, I’ll give you discounts on my writing courses, software, and books.
Now, let’s go over to this week’s interview with Sandy Forster.
Bryan: So, would you be able to give listeners a flavor for your backstory and how you help your students?
Sandy: Sure. So, I guess to go right back but keep it really brief, I moved from the most southern state of Australia, a cold state, to one of the northern states, a warm state, with my parents but before we did the move, they decided that rather than just move, they would take half the money from the sale of our house and we would travel the world for about 10 months, which was amazing, and so I went to lots of amazing countries.
Then, when we moved to Queensland, the warm state, I went to school, met a boy, we went out for 11 years, ended up getting married, I had two kids, a six-month-old and a three-year-old, and we divorced.
So, suddenly, the thing that I was doing at the time, which was designing and manufacturing swim and gym wear but it was really just a hobby, it was something that I would go down to the local discount store, find some nice Lycra, come back home, sit in the garage where I had my sewing machine set up, and I would sew all winter and, in the summer, I’d find an empty store down by the beach and I’d sell all this beautiful swimwear and gym wear that I made.
But, as I said, that suddenly after we divorced had to become my sole income. And it wasn’t enough. I mean, when we were married, it was great because it was a bit of extra money to maybe go on a holiday or do some landscaping around the house, but to actually live on wasn’t enough and I ended up trying to grow that business very unsuccessfully, ended up $100,000 in debt and on welfare, and the amount of money I was getting in welfare at the time was about AU$15,000, which I think, at that time, was probably about £4,000, £4,000 or £5,000. It was ridiculous. That’s a year. That’s a whole year.
Sandy: So I was just struggling so bad and I just didn’t know how to change it and I just sort of was almost resigned to the fact that I was going to be struggling financially forever because even if I got an amazing job that, you know, maybe paid me some great money, you know, it’d take me decades to pay all that money back so $100,000 in debt and on welfare, not a fun place to be.
But very luckily, I discovered the Law of Attraction and I had always been kind of interested in positive thinking but I think the Law of Attraction takes positive thinking to a whole new level, and particularly when you combine it with neuroscience and it just makes your life instead of being something that happens to you, it becomes something that you can create and that becomes exciting and fun and that’s what I love to teach my students.
So, my main thing is teaching, mainly women, but, you know, I’ll accept anyone, but mainly women who really wanna break through their blocks and manifest more money so rather than chasing it, become attractive to it, become magnetic to it and that’s the thing that I absolutely love doing.
So, you know, I’ve gone from welfare to millionaire. I’ve created a life that I absolutely love. The only thing that’s missing at the moment is travel. We are trapped in Australia. If we leave, they won’t let us back in. But apart from that, you know, things are amazing. So that’s my story.
Bryan: So how can somebody apply the Law of Attraction?
Sandy: I think the very first step has to be you’ve gotta get really clear on what it is that you want. And, quite often, we’ve got these blocks or we’ve got these beliefs around ourselves or around what’s possible or, you know, around how much money we can make and we set these limitations up, not on purpose, we don’t sit down and say, “Okay, I’m gonna, you know, limit what I can make,” or, “I’m gonna limit my success,” but we’ve sort of heard so much growing up from our family, from our friends, from the media, from, you know, maybe even religion, definitely education, like we just hear all these very limiting, limiting messages from all these different sources and we take them on board and, you know, when you learn to break through those limiting beliefs and you start to get really clear on what it is that you want, understanding that there are no limits.
I mean, the universe doesn’t sort of say, “Well, I’m only gonna let you have so much.” The thing is, we create from this quantum soup or this quantum field and that quantum field is the area of, you know, all possibilities. There’s no limit. So, whatever dream or desire or goal we have for ourselves, we need to understand that anything’s possible, like literally anything’s possible, because the universe actually wants more for us than we want for ourselves. So you have to learn, I think, the very first step is learning to think big, like dream really big, don’t put any limits on what it is that you wanna create.
Bryan: So, Sandy, people listening to this interview, you know, may want to become an author or, you know, write something that people will read but some people will also want to get paid to write because, you know, there’s a myth that writing is a difficult profession to earn a living. What would you say to somebody who’s got that limiting belief?
Sandy: The thing is, the easiest way to break through your limiting beliefs is look at other people who have done what you wanna do and see what’s possible, like read stories about them, listen to podcasts about them, just do whatever you can to immerse yourself in other people’s successes.
Because I remember when I was $100,000 in debt and on welfare and really struggling and really stressed and didn’t know what I was gonna do and I went and saw this guy who was kind of like a counselor, psychologist, hypnotherapist all rolled into one and, after that session, he said to me, “Well, what came up for you?” and I said to him, “Well, the only thing that really came up for me was personal development,” but in my mind, I’m thinking there is no way on this planet I’m gonna get into that field because there’s only two things you can do: You either write a book, and there’s no way I can write a book, or you speak in front of an audience, and, oh, I would rather die than do that.
So it was like, you know, my mind was like, “That’s not gonna happen,” but fast forward to now and I’ve written a book, I’ve contributed to another 10 books, my book’s been translated into 11 languages, I’ve used it as my big business card and, you know, made millions on the back end of that book and so it all came down to I had a limiting belief that I couldn’t do it but I started by taking baby steps toward it, like I didn’t sit down and write my book, I actually started teaching these little tips by webinar many, many years ago and, over the years, the 4-week webinar grew to 6 weeks and then 8 weeks and then 10 weeks and then 12 weeks and then I thought, “I’ve got all these notes, I should take these notes and do something with them,” and I turned them into a book and it became a bestseller and it really has become the basis of my business.
And it was all because I listened to other people who had done it. And I remember, you may have heard of Mark Victor Hansen, he’s the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy —
Sandy: — who, I think they’ve sold, don’t quote me, but I heard billion recently, and I don’t know if it was half a billion or a billion books but a lot of books he’s sold and he really inspired me because I saw him up on stage talking about his success and he was talking about one thing one minute and something the next minute and he was all over the place and like full-on ADHD and I looked at him and thought, “Oh my gosh, he’s like a male version of me,” like he’s not at all organized or professional or got his act together, and I thought, “If he can do it, I can do it,” and so he really taught me that your book should be your business card and, you know, no matter what you do, whether it’s create a product or a program or write a book or, you know, whatever you do, there’s people out there that want what you have and want the style that you offer and, you know, want your message the way that you present it.
And so, any sort of limiting beliefs we have are only things that we put upon ourselves and the easiest way to get rid of them is just look for other people that have created the success that you want and just follow in their steps.
Bryan: Did it take you long to write How to Be Wildly Wealthy Fast?
Sandy: Actually, it didn’t take me long because I’ve been teaching the webinar, although back then it wasn’t even a webinar, it was a teleseminar because they didn’t even have them online, and I’ve been teaching it for about a year and, as I said, it just gradually grew longer and longer and I had all these notes and it was really funny. I remember sitting down and thinking, “Okay, I wanna get this out to the world, and a webinar or a teleseminar is great but you’re only gonna reach so many people, but a book, I’ll be able to reach like hundreds of thousands of people.”
So, with the book, I decided that I would just take all my notes and just kind of lock myself away and write and that’s literally what I did and I remember my children coming to me and my son would say, he was probably about, I don’t know, six or seven at the time, and he’d say, “I’m hungry. Are we having dinner?” and I’d say, “Go and get a can of baked beans out of the cupboard. I’m busy,” and my daughter would say, “You just ignore us all the time,” and I said, “Look, I’ll take you shopping once we make money,” because she loves clothes, like she loves anything.
I’m not a shopper, I buy nothing ever, except I’ve got a beautiful home, that’s one thing I do love, and I did, so when I ended up making the money, we moved into a beautiful home, I took my daughter shopping and it was not shopping down the local mall, like we actually flew to New York and I took her shopping at all the shops in New York. So, it was really cool. But, yes, it didn’t take me that long but what I did have was a good editor. So, I found an editor just locally and she polished up my book, which was really good because, yeah, I’m not great with details.
Bryan: So your book has done fantastically well over the years. It’s an international bestseller. I understand you’ve been featured in Oprah’s magazine and you also collaborated with Jack Canfield. Well, like what tips would you have for somebody listening to this who I suppose wants to promote their work?
Sandy: I think, again, look at what other people have done and think big, like don’t put limitations on yourself because literally the things that I’ve created and done and attracted into my life, I would never — like I dropped out of school, I dropped out of high school, I didn’t even finish high school so, you know, when people look at who I was and what I was back then, there was no way people would have said, “Oh, she’s going to be successful.” There’s no way I thought I’d be successful.
All I wanted to do was go down the beach, like that was my whole aim. I loved — and moving from the coldest state in Australia to beautiful sunny Queensland, I was just in love with the ocean and the waves and the sunshine and the blue skies and just, you know, I had no great dreams at all. So, you know, really, it’s just a matter of, again, just have big dreams and go after them and know that if you have a dream or desire or a goal, the very fact that you have that means it’s — and this is something I kind of teach people, it’s basically out there in what I call your warehouse.
The very fact that you have a dream or a goal or desire, it means it’s waiting for you and so you just have to align body, mind, and spirit, and I think this is where people get a little confused because a lot of people have watched, say, the movie The Secret or read the book The Secret and they understand that we focus on is what you create but they’re really just coming to it from the mind perspective so thinking about it and maybe even the feeling perspective, the spirit, but they’re not actually understanding that you also have to take action and that’s why I say, “Align body, mind, and spirit,” so mind is the thinking, spirit is the feeling, and body is taking action, because if you don’t take action consistently, you’re not gonna create what it is you desire. I
mean, you can’t sit around and meditate and expect what you want to drop into your lap. You have to get really clear on what you want, you have to get excited about it, you have to spend time imagining that it’s already happened and flood your body with the feelings as if it’s already happened, but then you have to take action. If you really are committed to something, you have to take action on a daily basis.
Bryan: Taking action on a daily basis for an aspiring author might mean writing 500 words a day every day. What would you say to somebody who’s having trouble finding space to do that?
Sandy: Look, I hear you. I’m with you. Like writing to me is actually quite painful. I am so much better at talking. So — look, if I want to, like my next book that I’m bringing out, I actually decided to just hold a couple of webinars and just talk about what it was that the book was gonna be about and take — then, what I do is take all those recordings, I go and get them transcribed, I kind of jig them around, edit them a bit, and then next step will be send it off to an editor.
Because even though I’ve, you know, written a book and I’ve been in about 10 or 11 other books, I find it really painful. I kind of just get stuck. I don’t know where to start. So, for me, talking out my ideas is brilliant and that’s what I teach other people too. Talk, talk, like if you like to talk, if you like to share information about your area of expertise or what it is that you want to actually write about, just record yourself. It’s the easiest way.
Bryan: Yeah, that’s actually the approach I recommend as well using maybe dictation or a voice recorder. I was interested to read that you describe yourself as an introvert but, from everything you’ve said, you sound quite extroverted.
Sandy: I know, it’s ridiculous. I sound extroverted but, literally, I love being locked away at home by myself, not talking to anyone, reading books, you know, watching the kangaroos in the backyard, because I’ve got two acres and I’ve got a spring-fed dam and I back onto bushland and so I have kangaroos that come out of the bushland and graze on my grass and I just love, yeah, I just love — I very much love being alone.
But it is strange because I think I’m an extroverted introvert in that I love being that alone time, quiet, you know, I don’t go out ever, like I literally don’t go out, unless it’s to a meditation night or yoga, but I love speaking from the stage, I love inspiring people through podcasts, I love anything that allows me to share my wisdom, inspire people, empower people, but after I’ve done that, I need to retreat back to my cave and recharge my energy again.
Bryan: Yeah, I know what you mean when you say you don’t go out, but you also have a love for travel. So I was reading that you’ve trekked Mount Everest and you had an interesting experience.
Sandy: I did, yeah. So, strangely enough, I watched the movie Everest. Now, anyone that’s seen that movie would not think, “Oh, that’s an inspiring movie, that’s gonna make you wanna climb Everest,” because pretty much lots of people died, but I watched it and thought, “Oh my gosh, that looks like so much fun.” Like I just — I looked at it more from the experience and the scenery and all that sort of thing.
So, anyway, so my daughter and I, we trekked Everest and I ended up with fluid on the lungs, fluid on the brain, I nearly died, they had to helicopter me off the mountain to Kathmandu Hospital so it was pretty intense but, oh my gosh, the experience up until that point was amazing. The people, the scenery, just everything, just totally mind blowing. I absolutely loved it. But, yes, I do love to travel.
Bryan: Was that from altitude sickness?
Sandy: Yeah, altitude sickness, yeah. And I should have known. I actually had altitude sickness, I’d climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and got really sick there too, not as bad and even just trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, I got sick there so, after the third time, I was like, okay, I am a sea-level girl from this point forward.
Bryan: Yeah. And did it take long to recover from that?
Sandy: No, pretty much once you get down and they put me on a drip and I think I had four liters before I kind of came right, four liters of fluid, so I was severely dehydrated but, yeah, pretty much only takes a couple of days. Having said that, it did affect me in a lot of ways. I actually took about a year to kind of recover mentally and physically. But the altitude sickness goes very quickly but there’s kind of a long sort of recovery period after that, unfortunately.
Bryan: You sound like somebody who likes big challenges.
Sandy: Yeah, I know. It’s strange because I’m so like ho-hum and then I go and do these crazy things.
Bryan: So, the other issue that many creatives have is finding time to work on their business and it’s — I also have heard about people who built a business around their book, particularly a non-fiction book, so how did you find time to do both and what advice would you offer to somebody who hasn’t quite done that yet?
Sandy: I think don’t take on too much at once. I think sometimes people think they have to have everything ready, everything perfect before they can launch their business. But, really, it’s just a matter of taking one step at a time and if writing your book is the thing you need to do, focus on doing that, because the book, really, you know, if you write it well, and that’s what I’ve done with mine, I draw people back to my website consistently to get some sort of freebie so I get their name and email so no matter if they were given the book as a present, they buy it on Amazon, they find it, like it doesn’t matter where they get it, they’re drawn back to me. But if you write it in the right way to draw people back to you, then that becomes your big business card.
And then, as long as you create products and programs that are in alignment with what you teach in your book, then people are gonna want more and that’s literally how I made millions of dollars. It wasn’t just from the book, because the book, you know, I don’t know, it’s probably made me about maybe under $200,000, $250,000 just from the sales of the book, but everything after that was because I created products and programs that sort of enhance the learning that was in the book.
And I didn’t create all of it, like now I have retreats, I have advanced money manifesting programs, I actually train people around the world to be Law of Attraction coaches, like I have a lot of stuff but I didn’t start off with that, I just started with my book and then what I actually did was took my book and I held 12 weeks of discussing the book.
Bryan: So, I mean, you’ve had quite a bit of success with your book and your courses and public speaking. How do you find the motivation to keep going?
Sandy: You know what, I love what I do, like I seriously cannot believe that I get to talk to people about the Law of Attraction, I get to help people become amazing at manifesting money, and I get to do all this from my beautiful home and it’s my business. It’s like I wouldn’t stop if you paid me to. I love what I do so much that, you know, I don’t have to find the motivation, it just — I’m just inspired every day to keep doing what I do.
Bryan: What particular strategies are working quite well for you at the moment for promoting your business? Because people listening might be wondering about how they can, you know, get their business off the ground and it can sometimes feel quite overwhelming about all the different strategies that are out there.
Sandy: Oh, seriously, just don’t think about all the strategies. I think that’s the first step because when you focus on all the different strategies and you get so over— or at least I do, I get so overwhelmed and I don’t know what to do — I’m babysitting my son’s fur baby and he’s decided he wants to bark. I think just don’t go down that path. Just spend more time, and this has really served me well, spend more time thinking about your vision as if it’s already happened.
Think about, you know, your book being a bestseller or you’re making lots of money or you’re attracting clients through whatever means that you want. Think about the end result and what will happen is you will come up with inspired ideas, because I can’t say to you, “Oh, this is a strategy that works,” because I literally don’t do anything at the moment, like I am the worst person in the world to ask about marketing because I literally don’t hardly do anything. I have my book and that continues to attract people to me, but I don’t do Facebook ads and I don’t do any paid advertising and I don’t do any anything. I do podcasts like this but that’s pretty much all I’m doing at the moment so — but I’m continually thinking about that next step in my vision for myself, my life, my business, and I think that’s what attracts people to me. So when you — I don’t just teach the Law of Attraction, I use it in my business and in my life and that’s what makes the difference, I believe.
Bryan: You sound like somebody who’s quite clear on what they want, Sandy, but what would you say to an entrepreneur or a creative who’s doing something to sabotage their success?
Sandy: Oh my gosh, I know all about sabotage. So, the thing is, and this all comes back to — we’ve been brought up a certain way and we’ve heard certain things all our life and we take them on board and they become beliefs at a very deep, subconscious level and so I know in my own life, I’ve kind of always — I was brought up with the belief that people who had money were bad, they would step all over people, they will take advantage of people, that you had to be doing something wrong if you made a lot of money.
And so, even though when I first went into business my aim was to make a lot of money, I was consistently sabotaging myself because there was part of me that did not wanna be that mean, nasty person that, you know, stepped on people and didn’t care about people and was greedy and all those bad things. And so, what I recognized was, yes, I was definitely sabotaging myself so what I had to do was rewire my brain and one of the things I’ve done is create technology to allow yourself to do that easily because, otherwise, it could be really hard because a lot of people use Law of Attraction just from a surface level and it’s almost like putting a Band-Aid on a sore and just expecting it to get better without putting something deeper down and eating better so that your cells are reenergizing themselves and you’re getting healthier and so Law of Attraction is great but it can’t just be surface level, you need to dig deep and get into your subconscious beliefs and rewire them and then you’ll find that you will naturally — the self-sabotage will fall away because who you are on the inside, who you are at a cellular level and who you are in your subconscious mind will be a completely different person and I think that’s the key.
Bryan: What type of clients does a book like How to Be Wildly Wealthy Fast attract?
Sandy: It’s people who are interested in learning about the Law of Attraction, interested in manifesting more money and maybe have tried lots of other things and haven’t had any success and, you know, it very much, I think, attracts a lot of women because of the way I write it and, yeah, and the great thing is people that love How to Be Wildly Wealthy Fast usually end up loving all the other things that I offer because, you know, it’s all very much in alignment with everything I teach in How to Be Wildly Wealthy Fast.
Bryan: And have you had any success stories that you could talk about?
Sandy: Oh my gosh, yes. Success stories. I have, like I have had so many success stories, I wouldn’t even know where to start, like I’ve just had someone, like one of the things I do with my Millionaire Mindset Experience, I give away $10,000 worth of courses and programs and products and mentoring for people sharing their successes over their time in Millionaire Mindset Experience, which is, you know, only an eight-week program and so one of the things I say is, you know, I want you to tell me how much you’ve saved, manifested, created in your business, like what you’ve done extra in the time that you’ve been in Millionaire Mindset Experience.
And this has just happened this week so we’re just about to do a draw and that’s not based on people’s results so they don’t inflate it, it’s just, you know, it’s just a lucky draw, that’s how it goes, and I’ve had people that have manifested $250,000 in four months. I’ve had people that have had a new job just appear out of nowhere, they weren’t even looking, like they hadn’t physically done anything to look and someone rung them and they’ve got this job that has doubled their income and allowed them to work from home, and I’ve had people that have had $97,000 debt just wiped clean, just like the bank just — I think it’s called forgiven, they forgive a debt. All sorts of amazing things.
And, you know, I’ve had people that have written to me to say, “I can’t believe it, I’m actually a millionaire. I didn’t think this would ever happen,” so, you know, anything from having $300 being given back to them that they never thought they’d see again to, you know, all sorts of things. It’s really mind blowing what people are achieving and I actually had a message in Instagram, message from someone just last week as I was walking along the beach because I love to walk the beach at sunrise and it was from a man who was saying that he was, about three months earlier, he was suicidal, he was depressed, he was riddled with anxiety, he had all this debt, he didn’t know what to do.
He said he read my book and everything changed and he said he’s paid off all his debt, he was at a retreat in I think Costa Rica and he just wanted to say, you know, he can’t believe how much his life has turned around. And I’m walking on the beach in the morning crying my eyes out because it’s like, oh my gosh, I’m doing what I love but I’m changing people’s lives in a way that just blows my mind sometimes. So, yeah, very exciting. I feel very blessed.
Bryan: Yeah, certainly shows the impact that a book can have on somebody’s life.
Bryan: Sandy, if somebody’s listening and they want to get started with you or they want to learn more about your work, where should they go?
Sandy: Best place is probably just go to wildlywealthy.com.
Bryan: Okay, I’ll put the link in the show notes, but it was very nice to talk to you today.
Sandy: You too. Thank you so much, Bryan. I really loved the chat.
Bryan: I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. If you did, please consider leaving a short review on the iTunes Store or sharing the show on Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you’re listening.
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