Jullien Gordon on How Self Publishing Helps Personal Brand Marketing

In Chapter 16 of 16 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, motivation teacher Jullien Gordon answers "What has the Self Publishing Process Taught You About Personal Brand Marketing?"  Gordon finds self-publishing books - five to date - an excellent way to distribute products and build his personal brand.  He notes the importance of understanding alternative distribution options and how commitment to a goal opens doors to new opportunities.  Gordon is the founder of the Department of Motivated Vehicles, a personal and professional development company that helps clients identify purpose and map it to successful outcomes. Gordon has written five books and speaks regularly to college students across America.  He earned masters degrees in education and business from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree from UCLA.


Erik Michielsen:  What has the self-publishing process taught you about personal brand marketing?

Jullien Gordon:  Especially in this kind of economy and when you look at the music industry and self-publishing industry I think you actually want to demonstrate that you can create value on your own first before you go to a big person, a big player in the game.  So I wasn’t gonna let a publisher or wait for a publisher to give me permission to write my own books.  That would be stupid. That would be ridiculous. 

So I’ve been able to distribute over 10,000 copies of my books on my own and now if I was to approach a publisher I would have a different stake in the negotiation, more leverage in the negotiation but even then some publishers have approached me and the margins that they’re trying to give me off of my own products despite their wide distribution just hasn’t made financial sense and so it’s been very powerful to do something independently.

If I could find the right distribution partner, then I’m open to it because that means more impact, and more spread of these messages and ideas, right?  TED is an example of a distributor, they’re not a distributor but they are creating a platform for me to distribute some of my ideas through TEDx, etcetera.  So I love partnerships but the partnerships have to also make sense.  So I think what attracts people is when you’re already in motion on yourself – on your own.  You’re already making progress on your own, not I’m at a standstill I have this idea, will you come support me.

People like to support things that are already in motion. So when it comes to personal branding and getting your products out there, you want to get things in motion as fast as possible using your own resources and we have hidden resources all around us that we don’t acknowledge.  Your friends, your parent’s friends, your parents, organizations right around the corner from you, if you just really are committed to getting it out there as far as you possibly can on your own, when you tap out that’s when I’ve noticed that other relationships have emerged to expand your ideas even further.