The Short Version
I’m a ghostwriter, speaker, LinkedIn Influencer -- surely the only time I’ll ever appear on a list with Oprah, Richard Branson and Bill Gates -- and Inc. magazine contributing editor. In 2020, my online articles for Inc. alone attracted more than 30 million readers.I’ve ghostwritten a number of bestselling books and even more articles, presentations, scripts, reports… and even one eulogy.(From what I understand, it killed... Wait. That didn’t come out right.)
The Long Version
I worked my way through James Madison University as a forklift driver and all-around gofer at a printing plant. I liked manufacturing and production work, so after graduation I took an entry-level job at the Harrisonburg division of R.R. Donnelley, a facility that produces millions of hardcover and softcover trade books each year. I started as a material handler, a job perfectly described by its title: I handled materials, in this case bundles of sigs and finished books.
A lot of bundles and books.
I rose through the ranks and became an apprentice machine operator, eventually earning my journeyman's card in spite of having almost no mechanical aptitude.
Later I helped start up the company's first On Demand printing facility, worked in Electronic PrePress for a short time, moved into the Task Force Coordinator role (you try managing over 100 part-time workers), and was promoted to Bindery Supervisor.
None of the above happened as quickly – especially from my perspective -- as I just made it sound.
I then took a management position with Von Hoffmann Graphics in Frederick, MD. After a year I was in charge of all manufacturing departments as we tried to turn around a company with an aging physical plant, outdated and poorly-maintained equipment, and a shrinking customer base. We made great strides and I met some great people, so with my extensive manufacturing, process improvement, leadership, management, etc. experience it only made sense to become... a ghostwriter.
Okay, maybe not so sensible. But I love to write and decided to take a shot.
Better & Faster
My first paid ghostwriting job was writing a press release for a startup. (My wife landed me the gig.) It took me five hours to write four paragraphs and I made the princely sum of $50. The client must have been happy since he later hired us to represent the company at MarketTechnics, then the biggest wholesale/retail trade show on the East Coast. (My wife even did an interview on behalf of the company for a Fox Business live broadcast; since I have a face made for ghostwriting, they kept me well off-camera.)
Luckily, I got a little better and a lot faster. I've ghostwritten dozens of books released by traditional publishers. Five hit #1 on various Amazon lists.
I’ve written about real estate, management, process improvement, finance, and investing. I've written books on subjects as diverse as breastfeeding, hydroponics, horticulture, magic (I can explain the tricks but don't have the dexterity to pull them off), and even personal finance for um, let’s just say “exotic dancers.” (Don't ask. But it did sell really well.
And I’ve ghostwritten hundreds of magazine articles, reports, white papers, newsletters, etc., for clients around the world.
That’s the cool thing about ghostwriting: You get paid to learn cool new things… and to meet cool new people.
Along the way I became a columnist for Inc. magazine, and later a contributing editor, a title which doesn’t pay more but does sound good when you introduce yourself at parties. (Not that I’ve ever done that.)
My work for Inc. has led to talking with a number of amazing people… which indirectly led me to write my own book, The Motivation Myth.
Think of, say, Mark Cuban or Jimmie Johnson or Kirk Hammett or Venus Williams and you might assume they have an intangible something--ideas, talent, drive, skills, creativity, whatever -- that you don't.
Wrong. It's easy to look back on a path to greatness and assume every vision was clear, every plan was perfect, every step was executed flawlessly, and tremendous success was a foregone conclusion.
It wasn't. Success is never assured. Only in hindsight does it appear that way. If you're willing to work hard, and persevere, and take the right steps and follow the right processes day after day after day, who you are is more than enough.
Anyone can achieve huge goals.
How do I know? If I can… you surely can.
The Motivation Myth
The Motivation Myth overturns the beloved (but false) idea that motivation leads to success, instead, small successes lead to constant motivation - and let you achieve your biggest goals while also having more fun.