Bestselling author Dan Miller went from teaching a Sunday school class from a 3 ring binder to self-publishing one of the bestselling career advice books in the history of publishing: the groundbreaking 48 Days To The Work You Love.
Since then Dan has published a number of bestselling books that offer advice on life and career, and is the founder of 48days.net, a community of coaches, authors, speakers, and entrepreneurs from all around the country.
Dan is the master at productizing his work; not only writing the book, but creating workbooks, DVDs, CDs, and live events that attract hundreds of fans every year.
The Dan Miller Interview
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Books by Dan Miller
Dan Miller Transcript
Tim Knox: Hey friends, welcome back in to Interviewing Authors, Tim Knox here. Another great show for you today. My friend, Dan Miller, is on the program. Dan is the author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, No More Mondays, Passion Meets Wisdom, a number of other books.
One thing that sets Dan apart is he knows how to build a brand and he knows how to productize his work. Dan not only writes bestselling books but from those he creates entire programs – workbooks, CDs, DVDs, live events. Dan is the master at monetizing his work – something all authors should learn to do. Sit back and enjoy. This is Dan Miller on Interviewing Authors.
Tim Knox: Dan Miller, welcome to the program.
Dan Miller: Thanks, man. Hey, I’m honored to be your guest today.
Tim Knox: I’m honored having you here. You and I have been friends for a long time and we’ve done a lot of things together but the most fun that I have with you is when we just sit and shoot the bull so I thought we would do that today and just record it. I’m sure all kinds of wit and wisdom will come out of this interview.
Dan Miller: There you go. You say shoot the bull but you really underplay the wisdom and innovation that comes out of those sessions that you and I have together.
Tim Knox: You know what there’s often been times when I wish I was a fly on the wall just listening to us because I know how brilliant we really are. Alright, enough of that. I do appreciate you being here. I know that you are a busy fellow. Let’s get started. Your background is well known. Your story is well known. You’ve been an entrepreneur, a teacher, a coach, a writer, you speak, you mentor, you podcast. When someone meets you for the first time and says, “Hi, Dan, what do you do?” what do you tell them?
Dan Miller: I usually tell them I’m an author, speaker and coach.
Tim Knox: In that order?
Dan Miller: Yes. But I usually go beyond that and tell them that I work with people who need more clarity and not only just philosophical or spiritual clarity but then how they can translate that into what they do daily so that the work they do that they spend the most time doing is meaningful, purposeful and profitable. Having added that, almost without exception the person wants to know more.
Tim Knox: I always find it interesting because when I ask people how do you introduce yourself I’m often surprised. For example, I interviewed Joe Calloway who’s just a top corporate speaker and when I asked him that his response was, “Well I’m a writer who speaks,” rather than being a speaker who writes. Your response I think is really good because I didn’t know what order you were going to put writer in even though you do spend a good amount of your time now writing.
Dan Miller: Oh that is my absolute sweet spot. I do the other things just to allow me to do more writing. Writing is the very center. Speaking is something that I do because of the connections made in doing that but not because I get up in the morning just so thrilled about the fact that I’m going to get on an airplane and go somewhere and speak, never.
Tim Knox: When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? When did you first notice that you had the talent for it?
Dan Miller: That’s interesting because I’ve always enjoyed writing. I enjoyed classes in high school and college that were essay classes where I had to write but I never even entertained the idea of being a writer as a central focus for what I do until I was like 45, 46 years old.
Tim Knox: Really?
Dan Miller: Yeah. So it was at that point some things kind of came to a convergence. Joanne and I, my wife and I, had been teaching a Sunday school class and people were asking for more in terms of material. We were talking about these inevitable career transitions people go through and somebody would say, “I’ve got a son-in-law who’s been without work for four months. What can I give him to give him the message you just talked to us about?” I didn’t have anything so it was really just from the requests that I eventually put together some very, very rudimentary materials. You remember those early days – a three ring binder with some stuff kind of put together in there. It was not a book by any means. It was just my rough notes to share with people because people kept asking. That grew into some pretty interesting opportunities. As I refined that material and saw the receptivity in the marketplace for it, I really backed into being a writer.
I never sat down and said, “Geez, when I grow up I want to be an author.” I never did. I backed into it because of the opportunities, the marketplace asking me for that and just started giving people what they were asking for. That’s been pretty much what’s continued even since then, although at this point it’s a little easier for me to understand what the market is asking for and have some materials that maybe a little more on the leading edge than just being reactive to what people are asking for.
Tim Knox: You say you were backed into being a writer. It sounds like the readers backed you into a corner to be a writer. It’s such an interesting story. They wanted something from you in a written form and that forced you to do something.
Dan Miller: It did, and again when I look at those early materials I’m thinking oh my gosh, there’s not a publisher in the world that would have taken that seriously. But see, that was never my approach. I never approached publishers. I never went to libraries, bookstores. I had nothing to do with that. I simply was interacting with people directly and then of course online but giving them the opportunity to get materials that would help them get the clarity that we were just talking about. That’s what opened the door for me as a writer and the door is open pretty wide at this point.
Tim Knox: Let’s back up a little bit. You were teaching a Sunday School class on career advice. Is that correct?
Dan Miller: Right, it was initially called Career Life Transitions.
Tim Knox: You were teaching this class and you had some materials that you put together in a three ring binder. People started asking for these materials and you just did them in a three ring binder, right? Went to the copy shop and put it all together.
Dan Miller: We bought three ring binders off the shelf at Office Depot, printed the material one side, three hole punched it and put it in there. People said, man I want that. I want six of those for my kids. It just started like that.
Tim Knox: That’s amazing. What were you charging for that?
Dan Miller: I was charging, you’ll appreciate this, I was charging $24.95 and then I was studying a lot about marketing and I ran across Jay Abraham, the old guru of marketing, one of his principles on risk reversal. I told Joanne, I told my wife I’m going to raise the price to $39, just arbitrarily from $24.95 to $39 and we’re going to give them a money back guarantee. If you don’t get the job of your dreams in 48 days we’ll give you your money back. It worked like magic.
Tim Knox: That was a really ballsy thing to do, Dan.
Dan Miller: Our return rate… a lot of time in mail order marketing you expect it be between 12 and 15%. You kind of build your business model on that. We just had an event there and Ashley, my daughter; in looking back at the previous year she said we had two returns. That’s out of thousands and thousands. We are so far underneath 1% returns but it’s because we do some other things. I’m not just a typical author just sending a book out there and hope it sticks. We do things in our packaging, our connecting with our audience that a lot of authors do not do, which is really pretty significant. When I started to get into this a little deeper… I mean, I’m an entrepreneur. I like to look at the potential of businesses. When I see that 95% of authors never make more than $40,000 a year I’m thinking, geez, if that’s the only possibilities there’s no way in the world. That to me is pretty exciting because to me then my immediate question is how difficult can it be to put yourself into that 5% where you knock it out the park? All I have to do is look at what most authors do and do what only 5% of them are doing. It’s pretty easy to identify what most authors are not doing so we’ve done some pretty unique things. Our returns are essentially zero.
Tim Knox: One of my favorite things that you do, and I assume you still do this, is when someone orders something from you now, you put pieces of candy in the box. I always love coming up to your place and just eating the candy. How many pieces?
Dan Miller: 48.
Tim Knox: So you had a three ring binder of this. You were selling it to folks in the Sunday School. How did you transition from selling this just there in the parking lot of the church, if you will, to selling it online? How did that come about?
Dan Miller: That was really immediate because coming from a business background, a sales background I was looking at the possibilities there instantly. I just looked for the economy of scale. I wasn’t interested in just selling four copies of something a month to people who knew me and loved me. We were online from day one even with those really raw, initial materials and nobody cared. If the content motivates them and inspires them, gives them new options, nobody complained about the crappy packaging that I had. They just bought it, shared it with other people and it grew from that. From day one we were online.
We used to have one of those URLs, about a mile long – citysearch.com/encyclopediabrittanicaofamerica/danmiller48days.
Tim Knox: I remember those days. It’s gotten a little better now hasn’t it?
Dan Miller: Yes it is.
Tim Knox: That’s super. You mentioned that eventually became the book 48 Days to the Work You Love, which boy once you started publishing that thing it really took off.
Dan Miller: It did but here’s kind of the sequence. Approaching this as a business guy, as an entrepreneur, when I saw that we were getting traction with it I thought how can I do this really well? How can I be solidly in that 5% of authors and experience the success that only 5% experience? Joanna and I went to a Mark Victor Hansen Mega Book University, one of these seminars in Los Angeles. We scraped our pennies together and went to that. Mark is the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul and has some things to share about how to sell books well. He did. He shared so freely – just a gracious, generous man. We came back and I just started doing the things he talked about. In the next 24 to 30 months I sold a little over $2 million worth of that three ring binder.
Tim Knox: It was still in the three ring binder.
Dan Miller: Still in a three ring binder at that point. Then publishers started knocking on my door. That was my approach to publishers. I never, ever sent out a book proposal, contacted a publisher. They contacted me because they saw what was happening with my little home produced product.
Tim Knox: Isn’t it amazing when you prove a concept how responsive publishers are?
Dan Miller: It is. Another point that goes with that is a lot of people think, well, I don’t want to sell any of these myself because it’s going to dilute the market, publishers will think I already tested what results we’re going to get. That is absolutely not true. Publishers are impressed if you figure out how to sell 2,000 copies of something. It sold a whole lot more than that at that point. They were very eager to talk to me.
Tim Knox: 48 Days to the Work You Love – that 48 was your hook. You and I have talked about this before. You have great book titles. 48 Days to the Work You Love, No More Mondays. First of all, tell everyone what the 48 days means and then talk about the importance of a great hook when you’re writing a book like this.
Dan Miller: Very important. I had been working with people as a result of teaching that class, just volunteer coaching people through these tough transitions in their careers they go through. What really blew my mind was working with somebody who was out of a job or hated their job. We’d map out a plan of what they were going to go to and two years later I run into them and they hadn’t done anything. You got to be kidding me. I started hearing these excuses. When the kids get through high school or when we move or when I finish my degree or when all the lights are green. I’m thinking there’s got to be a timeline here. This is not something that just when it suits you do it. If we want better results in our life we want to get to those quickly, not some long just stick your toe in the water kind of process. I thought there’s got to be a timeline.
At first I was calling things ‘get the job you want in 30 days’. Well then I had people let me know that they weren’t even sure they wanted another job, so that’s a very critical change to work. Work opens the door to other things than just having a job. 30 days? It doesn’t really grab you. It’s just a month. We get that a lot. This was back when 48 Hours was becoming popular as a TV show. I thought I bet I can get some name recognition, some brand recognition if I use the 48. We won’t use hours; we’ll use days. It was like somebody poured gasoline on everything I was doing. It did exactly that. People were saying, “You mean I really can change my life in 48 days?” My response was always yes you can if you create a plan and act on it. So the 48 days we brought to the forefront and ultimately became the name of our company. That took place over time. That was about a fifth generation name for the little material that I had been promoting. But it was at that point that things really did take off.
Tim Knox: What a great story. Isn’t it amazing the difference people will think. The different between 30 and 48 is only 18 days but by going from 30 and I can’t do this in 30 days to well how about 48 days? Okay. It just somehow made it more believable didn’t it?
Dan Miller: Well it did and it just sounds like somehow it must be magical and must be really important the 48. Believe me, it was way more art than science. I didn’t know that we would continue that but the effect was so magical that we sure hung onto it. That’s become the central focus for everything that we do where, yeah, you can make dramatic changes in your life’s journey if you create a plan and act on it. You can do that in 48 days.
Tim Knox: Have you ever considered writing a book called The 49th Day?
Dan Miller: You know what I’ve got a whole lot of other people that want to.
Tim Knox: What happens on the 49th day?
Dan Miller: Yeah I’ve got people that want to write all kinds of other titles – 47, 46. I’ve seen things that have been done like that. We include the 48 pieces of peppermint candy in all our packages that you’ve alluded to and we tell people one a day. Take those and on the 49th day you enter into that next amazing chapter of your life.
Tim Knox: 48 Days really became a monumental book on career advice and what to do with your life. You followed that up with a book called No More Mondays. Talk about that.
Dan Miller: The ending chapter in 48 Days to the Work You Love says, “Maybe you’ve thought about doing something other than just getting another job. Maybe you’re tired of being vulnerable in corporate America where things change and all of a sudden you’re out looking again. Have you ever had an idea that you thought could be turned into something else?” I just wetted the appetite there, which I think is an important point for authors. Beginning authors, a lot of time, want to put everything they know between the covers of that very first book. That’s not what you want to do. You want to give people a solid message but leave room for other things as you continue to connect with those people. So No More Mondays is a direct take off from the ending chapter of 48 Days to the Work You Love. If in fact you don’t want to just do a resume, do a job search, negotiate a salary and again go sit in a cubicle somewhere – no more dreaded Mondays is the message for you. How to take an idea that is creative and non-traditional and put legs on it.
Tim Knox: When you were writing 48 Days did you know that there would be a sequel or a follow-up if you will?
Dan Miller: You know I didn’t really take it that far. I wasn’t that calculated about it but I knew that there was way more just in terms of my interactions with people at that point that would be valuable information that I could not possibly put in a 240 page book. So I really pared it down. By then I was writing, doing other kinds of writing as well for magazines, blogs and things like that. So there was a lot of content being created that I knew could not reasonably be put in the book. The subsequent books to that have been very easy to compile because it comes from ongoing information and content that I’ve created.
Tim Knox: You are really good, and you mentioned this a little while ago, at taking a core product like a book and turning it into a program really. You add a workbook or a CD or a DVD or a live event. Talk about how important it is for the authors that are listening to that are thinking about getting into this genre. How important is it for them to not just stop at a book but create an entire platform and program?
Dan Miller: I wrote a blog a few months ago for Michael Hyatt, who is known primarily as an author guy. He was former CEO of Thomas Nelson, big publishing house. The blog was titled “Forge the Royalties. Just Give My Book Away.” Authors went ballistic. Oh my gosh! You’re stripping us of the very thing that creates our income and I’m thinking you’ve got to be kidding me. A book is not your income. My books are like a fancy business card. I really don’t care if we give them away or if the publisher gives them away because what it does is it leads people to the other things where I make significant money. If you got a book deal with a traditional royalty arrangement and you get $1.50 a piece they have to sell a whole lot of them to really move the needle on your financial portfolio. If you use the book as the tip of the iceberg for your core business it can be amazing what happens.
I just got copies sent to me just a few days ago of a new Chinese version of 48 Days to the Work You Love. Now that book’s been out almost 10 years and here we’ve got a Chinese version. Even in that all those links that I’ve got in there lead people back to our core business and they show up for events, they get involved in coaching, they purchase other products, they tell people about it, get involved in my Mastermind. I’ve got all kinds of things. Yeah, the book is always just one small presentation of the message. I look for ways to leverage that message. The last book I did with son, Wisdom Meets Passion. That was done with a major publisher. That was done with Thomas Nelson so traditional publishing agreement before the book was released. We had a field manual that went with it. We had an audio that was not just the read book. That was there but there was an additional audio product that my son and I created. We had a pictorial guide that had quotations from the book superimposed on top of beautiful photographs. We had an Ubuntu medallion, a medallion that hangs around your neck that’s designed like an African coin that my son did that really got a lot of attraction. We had a really robust package. That package sold for $77. I’m not interested in selling a $10 book. If we’re going to sell something I want it to be part of a package.
That book now is being taught in college Universities. I keep hearing from people that are using it because I give them the field manual. What that does then is that introduces all those students to, one thing have to buy the book, but then the book introduces them to all the other things that we do. It’s this never-ending wave going out there where we’re pulling people back in to things that go way beyond just the sale of a book.
Tim Knox: I think that’s the entrepreneur in you because this book is a marketing piece, right? You’re not going to get grits selling books but if you have all these other products that go with it that really enhance the book. It actually gets people more involved don’t you think, than just reading a book? If they’ve got a CD or a workbook or can come to a live event, they make more contact with the author than just having a book.
Dan Miller: That’s really the key. I give people such open door access to me that they’re amazed. In doing so it creates a loyalty for not just that one product but for anything else that I introduce. We see that again and again and again. So I’m constantly just repurposing the core message and whether it’s in that book or it’s in a blog or podcast or newsletter, whatever form it comes in. give people the message any way they want it but make sure they can choose from 10 different ways to get it.
Tim Knox: Exactly, and you do that really well on your website. We’ll give that address. You mentioned a minute ago about the book you did with your son, Wisdom Meets Passion. How was that process? Did you guys sit in a room together or was this all done remotely? How did you do it? I can’t imagine both of you in a room.
Dan Miller: I’m sitting in Franklin, Tennessee and he’s sitting in Nairobi, Kenya.
Tim Knox: Amazing.
Dan Miller: We’re a significant distance apart and it was done like that. Just real quick here’s how that book came about. Jared, as you know, Tim, our second child, has never done anything normal in his life. Everything has been kind of out there on the edge but he always wanted to go to Africa. About nine years ago he had an opportunity to go to Africa to setup a project, a bicycle race that he was going to coordinate and he did that. The night before he went he really had high hopes for making a major change over there, being a world changer and he certainly has gone on to do that. But he wrote a note to his mom and I the night before and he said I’m really terrified about what I’m going to attempt here but my passion exceeds my fears of inadequacy about what I’m going to do. I thought oh my gosh, if I could capture that kind of passion, the passion that gets us past our own fears of inadequacy, our own self-doubt, our own low self-esteem, that would be amazing. It planted the seed in me I’m going to write about that someday and when I do I want to get Jared’s unique input.
So I wrote a lot about it but then a few years later made a proposal to a publisher. They said oh my gosh, we want to do this with you. So I wrote that book and I’m pretty comfortable in that kind of a format. I wrote the book, the manuscript, sent it to Jared in Africa and I just said, “You just go through it.” Jared’s not a real reader. I said, “You go through it and anywhere something really resonates with you just write your thoughts.” He did an amazing job of doing that. He sent it back to me. I just made sure it flowed okay but I didn’t revise, take things out; I just made sure it flowed okay. We did it together but that’s the way it was done. We did not just brainstorm from word one. I wrote a manuscript as our draft, he put his comments in and we made it all work together.
Tim Knox: Let’s talk in the time we have left about your process as a writer. It always fascinates me when people write, how they write. If you’re on a book project or you’ve got something in your head, do you write every day? Do you write on a schedule? Do you lock yourself in the office? What do you do?
Dan Miller: I write every day because it’s really at the core of my life and business at this point. When I say my life and business… I don’t just sit down and think what can I write that people are going to pay me for? I write because I love writing. I’m a voracious reader. Every time I’m reading I’m collecting quotations and notes, principles. So I’m always compiling those things. I write at least 1,000 words a day. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t go anywhere. I just write because I’m always creating content. I blog three times a week. Here’s how some of my writing kind of flows together. I blog three times a week. I don’t really blog Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Monday morning between 9:30 and 11:30 I write three blogs. I’ve always got content waiting. It’s not like I have to sit and scratch my head. I’ve always got content waiting.
The other day I had a wasp that landed on the rearview mirror of my car at a stoplight. Then I took off. I thought well now a wasp can only fly about 15 miles an hour. I wonder how fast I can go and have him hang on. So I thought I wonder if I can go 48 miles an hour. I did and the little rascal was still there.
Tim Knox: Hung on, huh?
Dan Miller: Hung on. At 88 miles an hour I had to hit the brakes for my next turn. Well that prompts an idea. How often do we hang onto something too long? I mean I had him in totally foreign territory at that point because he wasn’t intended to be there at all.
Tim Knox: He was probably thinking when is this guy going to slow down so I can get off?
Dan Miller: Well things like that though inevitably I have 10 of those a day that prompt writing ideas that relate to the content that I write about. So I’m writing every single day but I write those blogs on Monday morning. So I have a real set schedule of things. Now on Wednesdays I record my podcast. I love doing a podcast. It’s one of the highlights of my week but it’s at that point that I open that magical dedicated email file where hundreds of questions have come in. I open that and I see questions that I could not dream up in my wildest dreams – real life situations where people are saying, “This is my situation; what should I do?” Well every one of those stimulates more content, more writing.
Here’s an example too, Tim. I’m doing a revision to 48 Days to the Work You Love. That book continues to really rock, which I’m forever grateful for. So I’m doing a major revision and that will be released in January of 2015, the 10th anniversary edition. I put a note out to my audience just telling them I’m going to be revising it. What would you suggest I have in? What are the tips that somebody in the workplace ought to know if you’re interviewing, hiring, whatever? Let me just frame it like this – the book that I’m submitting is to be 65,000 words. I received an input from my readers over 170,000 words. That means I got more than twice the entire content that we’ll have in the book, and this is just a revision. It’s not even a new book. My readers are so responsive. I mean I could never do research again. Just asking the readers I get that kind of input that helps me develop my writing ideas. So I don’t go and sit in a vacuum somewhere and write. I’m simply listening to people, connecting with people, relating to people and so my writing comes out of that.
Tim Knox: I can’t believe 48 Days, 10 years later. How much revising and adding are you doing?
Dan Miller: More than I anticipated. The principles really are timeless. How you relate to other people, how you present yourself as a top candidate. There’s really a lot that is not going to change. Now certainly there are some things in the work place that’s changed but as I’m rewriting the book, as I’m looking at every chapter, I’m at a different place than I was 10 years ago and there are things that have changed and there are some things in there that I consider at this point to be kind of generic, just workplace trends and all that. I’m doing major new chapters like Who Would Hire Me? And another chapter that I’m really excited about… I’ve kind of run it up the flagpole and the response has been so dramatic but it’s a chapter titled Yes, I Do Have an Education, where I talk about what a real education consists of and it may be more than just regurgitating what was in a textbook while you got your butt firmly planted in a seat in a classroom. Education can come from travel, from experiences that you’ve had, from businesses that you’ve run. So companies are valuing the real experiences that have added to somebody’s marketable skills that go way beyond just having a couple of nice letters behind your last name. So I’m doing more revision than what I ever anticipated but I’m totally enjoying the process.
Tim Knox: You sound energized.
Dan Miller: Oh I love it, love it. That’s where I’m in my sweet spot. Close the door, open a manuscript and things just start to happen.
Tim Knox: Let’s talk a little just in the last couple of minutes here about marketing. You’re one of the best marketers I’ve ever seen when it comes to books and what you do. What’s your opinion on the value of social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn? Do you participate in all that good stuff?
Dan Miller: Well this is going to seem kind of like an ironic response perhaps. I think they’re important and I do nothing on any of the names that you mentioned. I have to have a caveat there because I do have a little traction and have a team of competent people around me… we’re pretty active on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn but when I say we I’m talking about 48 Days. I do nothing there.
Tim Knox: But you have people who do it for you.
Dan Miller: Yes. I think when we look at all the things that are involved in social media today, all the options we have, if you’re not careful you can spend all of your time chasing your tail. I’ve spoken at a couple of conferences recently and I say a lot of you guys are so focused on wagging the tail that you lost sight of the dog. There’s no dog in sight. Go back to your core business. Don’t just spend all your time on social media. I think we have to be careful about being so infatuated with numbers. So Ashton Kutcher has 2 million Twitter followers, big deal. What does that mean? What does it mean to me if I get 2,000 more Facebook likes? I look at the bottom line. How am I engaging with people? Those numbers don’t have to be astronomical to be pretty successful, especially if you’re writing in a niche area. If you’re writing about how to grow dandelions, you don’t expect to have a million Twitter followers. It would be irrelevant. Find 3,000 people who really care about that and knock it out of the park.
Tim Knox: You do an amazing job of that. One of the lessons that I’ve learned from you over the years is how to build a brand and that’s really what you’ve done. You as a person are all part of the overall brand and I think that’s what attracts people to you. Do you think?
Dan Miller: Well thanks, we really do focus on that and I have focused on the brand, the 48 Days being that kind of moniker that reminds people, wow, change is inevitable but you can direct it. You can decide what you want your future to be. So I’ve made it that and I’ve even purposely made it that rather than Dan Miller, rather than just my name. It is the brand. So we do everything to reinforce the 48 Days brand.
Tim Knox: Do you ever think about getting outside of your box and doing other kind of writing, a fiction novel maybe or something that is not in the career advice space? Dan Miller, private eye.
Dan Miller: Tim, I know you’ve done that and it blew my mind when I read your novel. I thought you’ve got to be kidding me. I just didn’t frame you like that. To me, it’s such a different process. I would be horrible at writing fiction. I couldn’t write ‘see Dick run’. It would sound phony from word one so I am not a fiction writer by any stretch of the imagination and I don’t claim to be. Here’s the thing though, how I approach this – my writing has been successful because I have a message that I cannot contain. I am so passionate about that. It’s not because I’m great with syntax, grammar, punctuation. That’s not it at all. I’m not a wordsmith. I just know how to engage people and give them hope and inspiration. That’s why my writing does well. I don’t claim to be a great writer but you know what I do love being? A bestselling author. There’s nothing in that that claims my writing is great but by golly I’ve had a whole lot of fun selling.
Tim Knox: Of course. I said I wouldn’t throw you a curveball but I’m going to and I think you’ll do fine. You have done hundreds if not thousands of these interviews. What is the one question that you’ve never been asked that you always think when you get off the interview, wow, why didn’t they ask me that?
Dan Miller: Wow.
Tim Knox: A little curveball.
Dan Miller: I have done so many interviews. I have people ask me about my Amish background, about the first car that I had that I built in the garage, about how I met Joanne. I mean I’ve been asked… I can’t think of a whole lot that I have not been asked and I am so stinkin’ transparent. I don’t hide much. My podcast listeners… Joanne’s mortified sometimes when they show up here on our property and they know things about us that she didn’t know anybody else knew because I just share everything. A lot of people who don’t know me too well are intrigued about how I grew up and wondering if I grew up as some privileged kid with my dad being a Vanderbilt graduate attorney. Well that’s not exactly the case. I remember we had one cow on the farm and then grew slowly and then three cows. I grew up milking cows and throwing hay bales. I just envisioned as a little kid that there must be more opportunities to go places, see things, know things, have things than what I seemed to be destined for. I value that part of my upbringing. I enjoy entertaining questions that deal with that part of my life. Again, it’s part of who I am today. Not having radio and TV in the house when I was a kid is part of what drew me to books. Well that disadvantage, that being so poor and legalistic and all that, geez, that kind of worked to my advantage. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I enjoyed sitting down and watching four hours of TV every night. I love books because of that early draw to books as a way to expand my world.
Tim Knox: I interviewed a gentleman the other day. He writes horror fiction and just sells tons and tons of books. I asked how he got interested in that genre and he said when he was a little boy he had a brother and any time they would act up his mom would send his brother to their room where all the toys were and she would send him to her bedroom and the only thing in there that he could find to read were Dean Koontz novels. He said, “You know what, I read every damn Dean Koontz novel there was and I knew right then that’s what I wanted to do with my life.” The guy’s 100 books in now, very prolific, just fascinating stuff. Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, No More Mondays, Wisdom Meets Passion. You’re working on an update now of 48 Days. Anything else in the pipeline we need to know about?
Dan Miller: Oh yeah, yeah, I’ve got new projects all the time. Last year one of my goals was to produce a new product a month so I’m constantly listening to my audience and producing new things. That includes eBooks, instructional manuals, online training. We’re converting a lot of things I’m doing to online training now, places like You to Me.
I love the new opportunities that are there, whereas I may make $1.50 on a book if I have the same content and put it online, I may make $48 from every individual who watches and participates in that as a course. There are some great new opportunities. I got another book that I’m working on as well as we speak.
The working title is Sealed with a Handshake. It’s the real basic things that we see that make businesses successful in today’s environment and it’s not fancy social media and technology. It goes back to things like character, honesty, integrity, trusting each other that we will do what we say we’re going to do. So yeah, I’m working on that as well and I’m really excited about that.
Tim Knox: Good deal. Dan, what is your website? Can they find links to your podcast and everything there?
Dan Miller: They sure can – 48Days.com. It’s easy to find and it’s got links to podcasts, blog. Then we’ve also got 48Days.net. It’s an amazing community of people who all have ideas that they want to put legs on and they’re more than happy to share those ideas and resources with others. The mantra for that organization or that site is a rising tide raises all ships. That’s at 48Days.net, a free community for people who are helping each other succeed.
Tim Knox: Believe it or not, my recording software is telling me that we’ve been recording for 48 minutes.
Dan Miller: Bingo!
Tim Knox: I think we’re done. I’ve got to screenshot this for you. That’s just freaky. That’s what my wife would call a sign.
Dan Miller: It is.
Tim Knox: Dan Miller, we are very appreciative. You are an author, a speaker, a motivational, just an all-around great guy, always a joy to be around. We will put links to your website and all of your podcasts and products on our website. We hope to do this again with you soon.
Dan Miller: I’m honored to be your guest. Hopefully we brought some hope and inspiration to your listeners, Tim.