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Step Three in setting up your empire.

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This is the critical paso de pasión, the step of passion.

Here, you look at the, say, three subjects where you can make yourself indispensable. These made your starter list in Step One and survived the “If I had all the…” test in Step Two.

At this point most folks have already prematurely narrowed their list to one—and they’ll have to start over if the survivor doesn’t pass Step Three’s requirements!

Those requirements? Only one, really: passion. You care so much about this topic that it would take some catastrophic adversity to stop you, like a postman of yore, from finishing this round. Something inside you sees you playing a pivotal, perhaps even salvational, role in bringing this message to others. That sense and drive that motivate it (and that they motivate) are stronger than the time, energy, and money that will be required to create and position you indispensably in this field.

Is it possible to feel that strongly about three or eight or however many topics that could become roots of your new empire(s)? Of course, particularly if they are closely related or are close modifications of each other. It happens almost every time that a solid empire is created.

If one’s true love is rebuilding linotype machines, there are scores of models and different kinds of those revolutionary machines to embrace. If you are expert on a 1916 Mergenthaler model, you may well be as (or almost as) enthralled and expert on its Intertype counterpart—and on the whole concept of linotype casting and printing too.

It’s also possible to want to build an empire and be recognized (even heralded) as a master in unlike things, like the linotype, dirigibles, and Norwegian flatbrød. But it’s much, much harder to effectively do so the longer your list grows, for obvious reasons. You may have a huge heart full of passion and a nearly immeasurable well of knowledge and vision but you only have 24 hours a day. Even emperors—even empresses—have been unable to change that.

So first you must prioritize your list, if it is more than one love long. Your first priority would be the depth of your passion. From that, pick out the best of the best, the one that you simply cannot live without—mastering.

Then you must ask the harder question, having picked the true love of your empirical life. Do you really care very, very much about becoming indispensable to your co-lovers of that singular topic? If so, you’ve completed Step Three—and you have the core of your empire.

Are you yoked solely and forever to that core?

Solely, no. I had an acquaintance that loved Edsels and computer programming with equal fervor, and could move several times a day from one to the other. He was “the” person to know in specific areas of each field, and while he never made a living from either (he was also a mediocre lawyer), both of his avocational loves looked a lot like empires. So being yoked solely depends on you, but I suggest you focus and dominate one before you expand to unrelated others.

And forever? Nothing’s forever, and love sometimes dims, but it’s a lot of work and devotion to rise to the top echelon in any field only to abandon it abruptly. The best empires are the kind that you move into, up, and outward because you can hardly help yourself!

And if you find out that your passionate choice now turns out to be a bad choice later? Then come back and look even harder at number two on your list (or at a new choice since arisen), and start again. But take your time now at the outset or, like choosing brides, you’ll eventually run out of potential brides or for the process itself—and we will lose out on knowing that exceptional something you can later share. You see, we, who want you to succeed so we can too, have a vested interest in your careful and passionate choice now!

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Let’s tap that genius in you….

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I believe that finding that “indispensability” that can lead to you creating your own life-changing (and profitable) empire starts with you tapping into or creating your own genius.

Everybody has genius in them.

That always gets a muted laugh when I talk about empire building and making their empire bloom by using their own genius plus their writing, speaking, publishing, and product development skills.

“Me, a genius?” they silently ask. Even those who are certain it’s true seem embarrassed.

How does Webster define a genius? “A single strongly marked capacity or aptitude,” adding “especially as manifested in creative activity.”

We all know of the musicians, athletes, artists, and others who from the outset demonstrate talent well beyond the average person’s capacity. They come sort of innately “gift wrapped.”

Yet they are rare.

But I also see genius—which I define as somebody singularly performing something self-found or self–created that is unique and highly exceptional—at least 20 times a day, and 220 if I really went looking. These are otherwise ordinary folks of both genders who provide distinct, individual information, services, or products to others in need. There’s hardly a person who couldn’t be included among them. If you’re reading this, you qualify.

For example, some of them started with that need and through investigation, exploration, experimentation, and refinement created a matchless solution. Their tools were at hand for anybody so driven: the library or web, talking to others, tinkering, building on others’ work…

It’s a kind of a driven genius that separates them from the pack. My Dad once called a man he’d heard about who had created a new punch press process a “dirty-nailed hero.”

That’s what this blog series talks about, and my newsletter (see www.gordonburgett.com) expands upon. It’s why we are going through these steps—we’re between Step Two and Step Three right now. We are hunting for that distinctive something that will make you so unique that others will be drawn to you, what you know, and the empire you create around it. That will mark you as a genius, though few will use the word but will rather benefit from your product or service, which would otherwise be unavailable as you created it.

That kind of genius can be found in 100 fields or 5000 different ways. Most of it is hard work, discipline, reflection, courage, investment of time and risk money, extracting from scores of others’ experience or knowledge… The genius comes from isolating both the need and the one (or several) best ways to meet that need.

And then, by extension, making the solution known, understandable, applicable, and replicable. Plus creating the kind of business structure that gives the provision time and production legs.
So when I suggested you do Step One, list the things you could (and wanted to) uniquely do for or provide to others, I was asking for you to take your first step into your own created, driven genius. If we don’t come “gift wrapped,” we simply have to get our own nails dirty and define, then produce our own gift, in answer to others’ (or our own) need(s).

Fortunately, genius has rewards. By creating something unique and buyable in response to their need, those in need will buy it! It’s that reward and the perception of your expertise that are the foundations of your empire.

No reason to dwell here much longer. Whether you accept the term “genius” or say that you just stumbled on something, you can still have the rewards!

Step Three is el paso de pasión, or the Passion Step. Stay tuned!

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On to Step Two: giving form to your uniqueness…

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Congratulations! Now that you’ve got at least a short working list of ways you can and want to share your indispensability, we need to do two more things today.

One is for you to realize that Step One is always a work in progress.

Most leaders I know do three or four things very well, and one thing extraordinarily well. That’s their empire and it feeds, drives, and distinguishes them–as it helps all those it addresses. But it was seldom the first idea or process or dream they had. And it probably won’t be their last.

They always seem to be doing Step One, consciously or not. Their list keeps growing and stretching and gaining depth. As should yours…

But now we need to move to Step Two, so you can intentionally find the thing you most want to do. From that can come your own empire, so you can be handsomely and honestly rewarded as you leave a huge positive mark on society.

Why not review my blog of January 10 (2009) and see if your list is ready–maybe four or five items on it, for starters. When you’re there, it’s time for Step Two.

It’s hard enough to list ways you can and want to be great, particularly if you are modest by nature or have been told that dire things come from wanting to be exceptional.

So Step Two helps reduce that grandiosity and air of boundless puff by giving the items you listed greater form. It converts bold declaration into more reasoned intent.

Take each of the ideas or means or skills on that life-changing Step One sheet of paper and define it by this question: “If I had all the time, energy, money, and insight I needed, what would my greatest dream look like if this were the core of my life?”

That is, write out a sentence or two that defines your clearest vision around that item. A statement that gives each dream doable steps, some boundaries, and perhaps purpose.

If you listed ultramarathoning as a Step One life changer, Step Two might say: “I see myself redefining my life around competing in the key and most challenging ultramarathons, to gain experience as well as physical and mental discipline in performance. As I am doing that, I want to become the emperor of ultramarathoning, by giving it structure, definition, directorship, shared communications, and a unifying core to which all participants can belong.”

Don’t worry that the terminology is still imprecise or that the dream is still fuzzy. Nor that how you will attain your vision is fully explained.

Do this to all of the items on your Step One list.

Do you see how much easier it is to make sense of identifying your role in empire-making if you give your dreams or wishes more structure?

And why you keep the list and these sort of global dreams to yourself in the beginning? Not only do they sound a bit like unbidden rantings (and carry the tinge of mental megalomania), they shout (far too early) at others already doing what you want to do that they should, at the least, avoid you!

That’s enough for today. I don’t want to scare you too.

Just know that empires need strategy and tactics, and those are good things. If you’re going to make others’ lives better and change the world, it won’t happen just because you do Steps One and Two!

Worse, though, it is far less likely to happen if you don’t.

Go to it. I won’t tell a soul of about your strategies and tactics, much less that you plan to change the world.

I think I’ll talk about genius the next time, before we go on to Step Three.

Gordon Burgett

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Making your life-changing list…

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In the last blog I explained Step One, and you are keeping it under wraps. In fact, since I suggested that you do that listing for a week (and continue for a lifetime), it’s still very much an act in progress.

So, while you notetake, let me give you an example of the kind of life-changing things that can happen to you by making yourself exceptional (I like the word “expert”), and how you can change the world.

A good friend of mine is Dan Poynter, who almost everybody in self-publishing knows as the guru of that field and the editor of The Self-Publishing Manual. It’s now in its 16th edition, but I met Dan very much by chance when the first edition was still new.

Dan was attending law school in Berkeley when he got distracted by parachuting. He opened a parachute loft in Oakland, and quickly realized that there was a big gap in the materials needed to get certified and what was in print. Nobody told the newbies (or any bies) how to do the necessary knotting.

So Dan gathered up everything he could find (mostly mimeographed), tied it together with his prose, and published a big three-ring binder book (selling for $19.95 then, $49.95 now) that became mandatory reading in all 50 states.

Yet along that way he stumbled into another knowledge hole: nothing very helpful was in print about folks like him (or us) who wanted to publish their own books (and reap that 90% of the income kept by the big houses)! Thus began his best-known book and the core of Dan’s much-heralded expertise, that now keeps his own coffers full, living atop a Santa Barbara sea-facing foothill, and speaking worldwide mostly to professional writers, publishers, and speakers.

I suspect that Dan sidestepped Step One and followed his instincts from one love to another.

Is the world better because Dan filled the needed gaps of valuable how-to information for parachutists, self-publishers, and also expert witnesses?

From what I can see, Dan is far happier than most folks that I know, comfortable, and much esteemed doing what he loves.

The trick is that he figured out his path(s) to expertise mostly by discovering what he knew (or could know) better than others, then simply completed the empire-building cycle until he was the top honcho, or, I guess, emperor numero uno.

That may seem like a long way up from simply making a Step One list, but that’s how it starts.

Want to know more about Dan? He’s got a super website and pair of newsletters at www.parapublishing.com.

And if you stick here (or join my newsletter) you will run across Dan’s book again when you put your unique knowledge in print.

For now, keep going on Step One. We’re about to do Step Two! How much more exciting can life be? (Just keep in mind the pots of gold at the end of this high stepping!)

Gordon Burgett

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What do you know that others don’t?

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I was sharing some general thoughts two days back about “making good money by being indispensable,” and got interrupted by moving my office!

The gist of what I share at this site (and through my newsletter) is how you can leap ahead by using what you know that others don’t, and how that will make you singular and can make you a fortune!

Yet I suspect that to do that, to identify the areas where you excell, seldom occurs often to even the smartest people, or those who can potentially make the most money.

One, they simply don’t think that way. They don’t sit down and write out the areas where they know more, or know the information better, than others in their field. So they don’t have any place to build from.

Or they limit their thinking. They know that they are the best welder or process person on the staff but they stop there. It never dawns on them that they might be similarly gifted or well informed in other areas too, like in a hobby or in a church activity or sports or in some broader conceptualization that doesn’t lend itself to easy naming. Or they have a unique idea that hasn’t a place to roost yet.

Some don’t think that way (or admit it) because it seems too boastful. So what if they do stand out in a particular field? Why would they brag about that? Or even acknowledge it?

And others don’t think about how they might be able to benefit from their exceptional experience, knowledge, understanding, or insight because in fact, right this minute, they don’t have any or much of the four! Which leaves out the single greatest component of distinguishing oneself: if one wants to be unique, he or she can easily make that happen by getting more experience more ways faster, or reading and studying and observing more, or asking the key questions to those who are already leading their field, to learn more! Or looking at almost anything in life and asking, “What if…?”

So I guess the purpose of this blog is to get you thinking about how and where you know things and means and ways that others don’t–and to give you permission to write everything unique that you know (or could) on a life-changing sheet of paper. Then keep adding to that sheet every time something more occurs to you that distinguishes you (or could).

You needn’t wave it in front of your family, friends, or co-workers. In fact, don’t. It’s the first step in a new empire that you can build for yourself and your family. Yet it’s too frail and perishable to share right now. Let’s just label it Step One. Keep the paper or notebook in your pocket or purse this week, then every time something new occurs that you know about (or could) that others would pay money to also know about, write it down.

Don’t worry if it’s not totally developed, you have items from a dozen different places, or the ideas don’t link together. Forget spelling or grammar. Just put the ideas down.

Why shouldn’t you share them yet?

You still don’t have much to share, and if you have a lot of different ideas, they haven’t been sorted out yet and prioritized. (Some won’t ever go beyond this sheet of paper!) Anyway, most of your friends will laugh or downplay your musings, and who needs to be diminished before they have time to grow?

So that’s your starter task if you really do want to create your own empire, help others, become an expert, get very well rewarded, and leave a big mark on society, even a small part of it that’s big to you.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Do Step One now and we’ll move through the key steps that follow in blogs to come.

I missed yesterday because I was hauling furniture and computers up a couple flights of stairs to my new office.

And waiting for the Comcast lad to hook up my computer. He was going to call before showing up so I’d be there. I was in the back of the new office when I got the call. Between his accent and a bad connection, I barely made out that he was the TV guy and something about the door. So I wandered to the front door with my wee phone in hand, opened it, and there he was, with his wee phone also in hand! We both got a good laugh out of it since neither of us are kids to whom the wee phones are like an extra appendage. The absurdity of talking to each other by phone three feet apart was, well, absurd! I remember when calls were made on street corners or gas stations for a dime, or at home in the kitchen.

Do Step One, and come back…

Gordon Burgett

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Making Good Money by Being Indispensable

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If you can figure out how to get a specific, identifiable group of people to consider you “indispensable” to their own well-being, you are half way home to creating your own lifelong, profitable empire.

Better yet if that group is large, web-comfortable, and its members are focused on converting their own well-being into more, and more reliable, income.

That’s precisely my focus in my free, monthly newsletter “Master Your Niche and Create Your Own Empire by Writing, Speaking, Publishing, and Product Development.”

For example, that can be as simple as your finding an honest, replicable process that will help realtors sell three times as many homes as their competition. You test it, it brings your consistently provable results, and you have several others test it with equally provable results.

Bingo, you have the core of a salable system, perhaps software, certainly a book or manual, probably a DVD-based course, maybe a bootcamp or a seminar, and as many of the other means–like articles, breakout sessions, blogs, audio CDs, and a key newsletter–as you need to spread the word, about your process and you.

Your issue then becomes which strategy will work best for you to sell your process or knowledge or system, to which niche, and how you can do this the quickest yet most efficient way.

Really, what you are selling is expertise, and the sooner and the better you put this expertise and why it is needed before the right niche(s), the faster you can add those niche members to your following. The greater your following, the more rooted you and your expertise become.

That all assumes that the core of your expertise is truthful, easy to use or apply, and will indeed help your followers do better or more or more profitably what they will pay you to know–and want to do.

Real estate needn’t be the target. (In fact, I know too little about it.) My own expertise is showing others how to sell 75% of their freelance writing, how to publish niche books that will always turn a big profit, and what I’m discussing here, how to master a niche and create an empire.

You may be a carpinter, web geek, insurance saleperson, nurse, car restorer, novelist. fantasy football junkie, whatever. If there are several thousand more like you and you know something that every one of them wants to know (or should), that’s where empires start.

But it takes work, time, some money, and a strategy. (But not that much time. It can bring results in a month–or several.)

I think there are two key elements that are central to your success: an opt-in e-list and/or a niche self-published book. They can exist independently; they usually develop symbiotically, and help multiply your earnings faster as they do.

Between writing and speaking skills, writing is almost always needed first, but can be hired. Speaking skills can be learned. In both cases, basic articulation is critical, and it comes from defining what you know that others should, then converting that special expertise into some kind of organized, usable, probably testable process or system.

But that has to be it today. I’m moving my office several miles away, so I’m about to change into old clothes and move boxes and computers.

Let me pick this up in “Making Good Money by Being Indispensable #2,” probably tomorrow, if the computers work!

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Master a niche and create your own empire

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I'm watching you!

I'm watching you!

I’m popping into this new blogging world on a cold, rainy northern California afternoon, hoping to share and learn about my favorite corner of the communication/business fields of niching and empire building by writing, speaking, publishing, and product development.

It’s kind of a mouthful but it’s my area of expertise, said immodestly. In fact, I’m a bit of a fanatic about it since I think for about 90% of the writers I meet it’s the fastest and surest way for them to get into print quickly and very profitably, then build their own life-sustaining empire.

So that’s what I mostly write about now, and what my free monthly newsletter addresses.

That’s enough, I hope, to break the ice. Please stay tuned. I’m planning to write about five blogs a week, and of course I’d love to hear from you.

Let me get that heater cranked up. I’ve got to get warmed up before I head out to barbershopping tonight!

Gordon Burgett

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