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Chris Bell interviews Bernard Kelvin Clive on Personal Branding

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Interviews / Personal Branding Podcast / Personal Development

Chris Bell interviews Bernard Kelvin Clive on Personal Branding

“You don’t have to be great to get started but you must get started to be great” ~ Les Brown

In this particular episode Chris Bell of the Writers Rebellion Podcast interview Bernard Kelvin Clive; discussing the importance of Personal Branding and Publishing on his podcast show.

Listen and be inspired:

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Interview transcript:

CB: Hi Bernard! How are you today?

BKC: Hi Chris, I’m good as gold here.

CB: Excellent. Thank you for taking the time to come on the show today.

BKC: It’s a pleasure I treasure.

CB: Awesome. Well I’ve given the listeners the back-cover version of your biography, but tell us more about yourself and what inspired you to start the journey of self-publishing.

BKC: Alright, thank you Chris. The name is Bernard Kelvin Clive and I’m inspired by a lot of things and a lot of people. My goal or vision or purpose is to really inspire others to live their God-given dreams using little means, or simple forms in every way I can, in the little things I can do. In so doing, I’m inspiring others and I’m inspiring myself to be the best version of myself I can ever be. It’s all summed up in the words “Inspiring and empowering the soul.” Those are the things I pursue.

CB: Excellent, excellent! Do you have a quote that inspires you in your craft?

BKC: I actually love quotes; I use quotes now and then and a lot of quotes really inspire me. One of them by Zig Ziglar and amplified by Les Brown: “You don’t have to be great to get started, but you must get started to be great.”

CB: SUre, absolutely! I love that quote. I think that is such an inspiration for people who maybe want to write a book or start a podcast or start speaking, but don’t necessarily believe they have what it takes. You know, I started this podcast a few weeks ago, and I feel like I’m very much learning the trade of podcasting. And, it took me a while to build up the courage to actually get started on the podcast, I think because I was struggling with that same kind of thing. But, as I’ve started doing it I’ve learned more and really been enjoying it. So, I think that’s very inspirational for a lot of authors. Well, we as authors know that writing can be so rewarding, but it’s not always easy. Can you tell us about a time where you failed or fell short of your goals.

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BKC: Ok, that’s a great question. Basically, with the quote I gave you, that’s one of the ways I really live my life and my writing style, because I believe its a process and a journey and until you begin, you will never get finished or know how much you have within yourself. So, my goal has been, all these years is to always put out something genuine to inspire somebody, no matter how little or small. My greatest challenge in all these processes has been trying to be confined by certain voices or certain people saying your writing style should be like “so, so and so,” or you should write “so, so and so.” And those have been the biggest challenges I find myself in, especially for my very first book in 2010. There were some people that reviewed the book that said I should go in this form or this particular path. But I stuck to my purpose, my goals. This is how I write and how I want to communicate. So to them, I might be a failure because I did not write as lengthy as they wanted or like some other famous authors they know, but in my own way or my own voice. And, that is very challenging for every beginning author or writer that you might be forced to confine yourself to the style or method of certain people. But, when you stick to your own style and find achievement along the way, you then excel at it.

CB: Awesome! I think that is such wonderful advice for authors, especially those just starting out who have maybe read some eBooks or some self-published books and think that there is maybe one specific way to go about it. But, I would like to echo what you said and really I think it’s important for authors to find their own voice and their own personal calling, their own personal style. The world is full of infinite possibilities and you should definitely follow your own course.

BKC: Exactly! That’s the point, and for self-help books and books in the area of writing and speaking there have been tons of books; I could name so many books like “Think and Grow Rich.” And, those are the famous, all-time classic books. But, the most important thing concerning books and resources, I tell every individual as much as I’m an author and a speaker, find what works for you and use it. It might be this talent for everyone, but it might not work for you. But the principle is to find what works best for you and maximize it. It might not be book, it might not be audio, it might not be tapes, but it could just be a simple quote or text you find somewhere that you can apply, that you can use. Then you make the most of it. So as you write and as you speak find your own means as you learn or glean from experts in the field, find what is going to work for you and then maximize that.

CB: Sure, so you’re an authority on personal branding; can you tell us a little more about what this means and how authors can benefit from examining their own personal brand?

BKC: Basically, in terms of personal branding, I put it as the way you market yourself distinctively. But, down deeper, the definition I use to teach people in my branding class for authors and speakers is the combination of one’s skills and talents to produce value for other people that creates an impression, a perception and a reputation in the minds of others. It sounds a little lengthy, but there are keywords in here to do with a complete personal brand. I look at it as everyone is talented in one area and that is the basic foundation: you find out your talent or giftings. Then you don’t end there, you sharpen your giftings and talents with skill. The the key idea for everyone is skills are learnable; you can learn how to write well, you can learn how to speak well, you can learn how to present yourself. But if you don’t build on the foundation of your talents or your giftings, you’ll be missing it, only painting outward and presenting yourself in the images and likeness of people. But when you find your core strength and talent, you begin to sharpen it and skillfully work at it. Then, you’re polishing and honing your craft. Then, as I said in the definition, you’re producing value. If your brand doesn’t create value for people, then you’re missing your true, authentic brand. So you must, as an author or speaker, or whatever you’re bringing out your best in, produce value for people. If you are, then 1) you’re going to create an impression. “Ok, I know Chris to do good editing, professional editing.” This gives Chris an impression, because you’re offering value to people. So that is one, and it begins to create a perception in the way people perceive you, the way they read your content, the way you present your content. Then, if you keep on doing this, this would be your reputation. “I know so, so and so for this. I know Chris for expert, professional this; I know Bernard for this, I know Scott for this.” So it develops your brand, and you begin to niche yourself in a specific field. I always say that in this age, as authors and speakers, there are a lot of authors; almost everyone can do everything, but what will distinguish from the other speaker, from the other author, from their books is the way you present your unique voice, the style of your writing, the style of your speaking.

CB: Awesome! I love that; I think you just shared with the listeners so much inspiring and actionable content. And, I think that’s something every author should do, is look at where their talents lie, look at where their gifts are, and then look at how they can really capitalize on those, and build skills in writing, or presenting or podcasting, to build those skills, to bring their unique sound, their unique style to the world. So, Bernard, you currently have 14 books published. Can you give us a quick look at the first book you wrote and also tell us, what was the hardest book to write?

BKC: Thank you Chris. Well my first book that was published in 2010 is Your Dreams Will Not Die. It is a personal development book inspiring people to live their God-given dreams. And that was the book that launched me to all this, because I had a dream and I was also urging others to pursue their dreams. So, it was a book I really love and most people like because it urges them on, even the title alone, Your Dreams Will Not Die, is an affirmation, an encouragement that your dreams will not die, for everyone out there, whatever dreams you have, you can make it happen. My other books are about writing and publishing. And, considering the most challenging book I’ve written. I would say its the personal branding book, because for these 5 years, I was trying to position myself as a brand online and offline too. So, I was using some of the things I’ve learned through other eyes and also experimenting through my writing and speaking career, then get the content out there and make it as simple as possible, nothing complicated so then people can learn in little chunks through that book. So that has been it, little kinds of information on simplifying the branding process for everyone to understand, in little words that everyone can apply.

CB: Great, excellent! And I think that’s one of the things that we are starting to see as a powerful force in the eBook world, is that people don’t have to write these big, 300 page books full of theory and philosophy on how to make changes in your life. And, a lot of people read particularly the eBook format because they want something that’s digestible, something they can take and start implementing right away. So I think it’s great to recognize that there is a market for that, that there is a market for people looking for easy, actionable advice that’s not difficult to implement in their life, that they can start seeing results from right away.

BKC: Yeah, that’s true. Especially in this age, a lot of people are very busy on the things they want to do, so they want something they can really read and apply and make use of it right away.

CB: Sure, absolutely. So this episode won’t air for a few weeks, but by the time it does, you’ll have another book being launched right around that time, can you tell us a little bit about that book?

BKC: Alright, Chris, thank you. That is one of the latest books I am going to launch in a few weeks to come. I repurposed the title as Why Every Entrepreneur Must Write a Book and it’s an ultimate guide to writing and publishing. So, it focuses on why everyone should write a book. That’s what the book is about, why every entrepreneur must write a book. And I’m glad to say that your company offered to do the professional editing for me, so thank you for that Chris.

CB: Sure, you’re welcome!

BKC: So a little about the book. I’ve learned through these four or five years, that a book is one valuable asset that every author and entrepreneur really needs to have to leverage their brand. And, so the book explains the basics about why you really need one and what you need to do to go about it. So for writers, speakers and entrepreneurs, it’s going to teach you how to write and how to get your content and the excellence of having a book. So, maybe if you like I can go through a few points quickly.

CB: Yeah, please do!

BKC: OK, before I delve into that, I have seven reasons why you need to write a book in one of the chapters. I have seven questions you need to ask yourself before you write a book and also offer you seven ways to write a book. So, seven reasons you need to write a book, seven questions to ask yourself before you begin and seven ways anyone can write a book. And I can go through the rest of the chapters, any of them that the listeners will be interested to know. Maybe I can quickly mention some of the 21 reasons you quickly need to write a book:

  1. As an entrepreneur, your book serves as a business card; it give you lots of leads and give you lots of openings.

  2. Your book is one way you can leave a legacy.

  3. It’s a way you can also preserve the history of your culture, of your tribe, of a certain tradition or certain recipes you want to share.

  4. It also establishes you as an expert. When you write a book, you’ll be seen as an expert. It opens up a lot of doors for you to have TV interviews.

  5. It also opens up the ability to have multiple streams of income, there are workshops, seminars and other things you can do through your book.

So a book opens so many ways for everyone who goes out there to publish a book. And there are seven ways you can also monetize your book, other than just selling your book:

  • You can look at courses you can offer teaching your experiences.

  • You can do video tutorials online and offline.

And there are also other things you can do with your book as well. So a book is a valuable asset for everyone, every entrepreneur, everyone wanting to preserve history, and pass something valuable across the globe. And basically ways to do it, you can start by:

  • Journaling

  • Blogging

  • Recording your content

  • You can look for a co-author.

  • You can also get a book published just by getting a ghostwriter to help you leverage your content.

So there are a lot of ways you can publish your content or your book.

CB: Great! And, I like the idea you bring up of entrepreneurs writing books as well. I think that it’s something that can definitely be valuable for anybody who is building a brand, is to launch a book relating to the brand. You know, like you were talking about earlier, it’s really about “What perception am I building? What reputation am I putting out to the world?” And a book is really a great way to put forward a professional presentation. And, like you said, its a business card, but it’s also proof of your business, proof that you’re an expert in your field. So I really like that and I think its something that more entrepreneurs should recognize.

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CB: You’re also a podcaster; can you tell us a little about your show?

BKC: Ok, Chris, I’ve been podcasting for four years now. I started in 2011 and it’s been great. Like I said from the beginning, I started with something to do with motivating and inspiring people in little tiny bits. But lately, I’ve developed the podcast into something where I focus on personal branding, personal development and publishing. Those are the three main areas. And, in all these, personal branding stands out. So in whatever case, what we still talk about something to do with branding for speakers, for authors, and the personal development process. So I interview experts in personal branding, personal development and interaction. And, occasionally too, I do a solo podcast where I give tips on branding and writing. So that’s what my podcast is focused on, its the personal branding podcast, that’s what I do and run effectively. And I might add, it’s the leading podcast in Ghana now. The number one self-help podcast to do with personal branding, publishing and personal development.

CB: Wonderful, congratulations! So it sounds like the same thing you are talking about on your podcast is also what you’re writing about in your books and speaking about. Can you tell us about how that relates to what you’re writing? Does it help you find or clarify things that end up becoming part of your books?

BKC: Exactly, Chris. You hit the nail right in the head there. It’s helped me to niche myself as an expert, a personal branding expert and self-publishing coach. So all the things I do are really knitted together from personal branding and personal development to publishing. So, all these are content I can spread across [my platform]. As much as I educate people in these areas, it also serves as content for my blog, content for my books and also help to focus and shape my ideas as I keep on doing the podcast and building my audience base. So the audience are used to these three thematic areas on personal development, personal branding and publishing and so my books are also centered around these three things. So, when you need an expert, Bernard is a go-to person in this area. You know that he is an an authority in this area and interacts with and has a network of experts still in the same area. So a podcast really gives one a true, authentic voice and that way you can also build your leverage and build your platform as a speaker, as a writer.

CB: Excellent! So tell us a little about your writing process. It seems like most writers have a ritual for writing; some need music or silence or the chatter of a cafe behind them to feel comfortable. Do you have any writing rituals? What does your ideal writing environment look like?

BKC: My writing ritual or process is a little off. It might interest or surprise you to know I write anywhere, anyhow, any moment. I’m not confined by environment, I’m not confined by music, culture. I do have certain times, especially at dawn hours you can write more deeply and think deeper. But, anywhere I get inspiration, on my iPhone, my phone, my PC, I pour the content down. So if I’m talking to Chris right now and I get an idea, I pick up my notes and I note things down. I don’t wait for any specific environment or routine in a cafe or specific people to inspire me. Once that idea is there and I get inspired or even without inspiration, I note things down. So I write anywhere, anyhow. It’s only when I am polishing that I sit down and get a little bit quieter place. But outside that I write on the go.

CB: Great, so it sounds to me that you don’t believe in writer’s block then. Would that be a true statement?

BKC: Very true, I don’t really believe in writer’s block, because as much as there’s something… you can get stuck in a certain idea and just flow in some other areas. But, if you want to write, you can just write on anything. So, I don’t confine myself with certain things to give me a block. If I want to flow, I flow. If there’s no flow, I find something to give me a flow. So whether I am inspired or not, I still write.

CB: Yeah, so I think it’s very valuable advice to give to writers, that they can put down what they’re writing and pick up something else and work on that for a little bit to get the inspiration or creativity flowing. You know, personally I know that when I’ve been sitting down trying to work on one project too long, I can get to this point where I just feel like I hit a wall and I maybe don’t want to stop writing, but I don’t necessarily feel like I can keep writing on the project I’m working on. So, it can be helpful to change gears and, say, work on a novel for a few minutes and then come back to the other project with fresh eyes. So, how do you decide what to write next? Is it an organic process for you, or do you do any sort of genre or niche research to inform your direction?

BKC: If it’s to do with motivation I don’t really decide, because it just flows or I just pick things I can use as a motivation for people. So, if my book has to do with motivation, there’s no specific flow or specific thing, I just pick examples from real life and I write around that. If it’s to do with the writing process, because I interact and read other materials, I also know “Ok, these might be the needs of the people, my audience,” and I write on that. So, that also informs me. If it’s to do with the branding process, because things keep on evolving and developing, you get new ideas and adapt to it and also write to that specific one. And also because I defined my niche and defined my area, I can provide materials that are relevant in those areas. And that is worth more in my area of strength, than my weaknesses. So that if i can really write and educate people in simple forms to do with branding and business, I go in that area and I find, “Ok, maybe the next need might be, they might need something to do with building relationships and networking. So, I start writing on that in bits and chunks until I eventually develop the entire content. So that’s how I write in my writing process, what informs my next book or my next thing to do.

CB: Great. And, I really want to call attention to one part of what you just said specifically, is thinking about what your readers, your customers want and what they need. I think that’s maybe something a lot of authors don’t think about until it’s too late. They get an idea in their head for a book and they start writing. And they’re writing and they’re writing and they get to the end of the book and they think “Huh, I wonder… I hope this is what people are looking for,” instead of approaching it the other way around. I think it’s something we should keep in mind throughout the writing process is, again, “what is that value that I’m bringing to the reader? Why are they going to pick up my book and read the first page, and then read the second page, and the third page, and why are they going to finish this book? What value, what needs am I fulfilling for them?” So, I think that’s definitely great advice.

BKC: Yeah, that is very true.

CB: Absolutely. Can you share one online tool or resource with the Rebel Faction that you find valuable?

BKC: I think social networking sites are very valuable to every author, and you also need to find which of them works best for you. Is it Facebook, is it Twitter, is it LinkedIn, is it Google+? You find where you can really find your audience. And, especially Chris, the two of us are in Pat Flynn’s group and we know it is a very resourceful group. So if that’s where you find content most engaging then you use that. But outside that, if you are looking for online tools, I like Evernote, because I can sink my content anywhere, anyhow, across all the devices. Another thing is easy access to Skype and Google+, Google Hangouts so you can connect with fans and friends across the world.

CB: Sure, absolutely. You know, we’re talking right now on Skype and I’ve used Google hangouts before and I think the power of those is simply amazing to bring people together. I mean, here we are on different sides of the world and here we are talking as if we are in the same room, and sometimes I just sit back and let that thought blow my mind for a minute. But, I definitely agree about Evernote: very good resource for collecting inspiration, for collecting ideas and research. And, you know, you’re not the first visitor on the show mention Pat Flynn’s eBook group on Facebook; I had Michal Stawicki on a couple of weeks ago and he also mentioned what a powerful group that is. And, again, I would like to reiterate, if you’re looking for a community of like-minded authors online that can help you and guide you and give you advice and feedback, it’s definitely worth looking into.

BKC: That is so true.

CB: Well Bernard, successful authors know that once they’ve written a book, the work is only half done. A lot of authors know exactly what message they want to share with the world, but aren’t sure how to get that message out there. Can you share some insight with our listeners on a marketing technique that you’ve found to be particularly effective?

BKC: To start generally, one of the things I would say concerning writing and marketing is writing is just 10%. Publishing and marketing is 90% of the whole work. So writing, even great content, is just 10% of the work. So, what you need to do is: the first day you conceive of writing a book, that’s the day you need to start marketing it. The very first day you conceive of the writing, during the writing process you start figuring out ways of marketing it. How will your audience perceive or accept this content? You try surveys, you try social media. You try engaging them with your writing. You must engage them right from the beginning of your content, and that way you can use word of mouth to spread your content. Because, paid ads will not reach very far. But, if you have built a good platform… So one: for every author, you need a platform to help leverage your content, to help you market. Without a platform, selling your book will be very difficult. So, you need a platform, and you need a very great book with very great content. Focus on your readers, focus on your audience , how can this offer value? So with your platform and good content, you can leverage on that with word of mouth and social media to get the word across. And Chris, if you know that currently, if you’re doing KDP on Amazon, doing the free promotion, it becomes more difficult to get people to download your content. So the key is, get a good platform in whatever way, whether its a podcast or a newsletter subscription through your landing page, and build an audience that can help spread your content, your book. Without this, selling online will be very, very difficult for any author, especially self-published writers and authors.

CB: Absolutely! I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said there. I agree that too many authors approach the process in the wrong order and don’t start marketing until they’ve completed their book. And at that time, they’ve lost out on so many potential readers, such a huge potential audience, just because they weren’t taking a little bit of time to spread the word and build a buzz while they were writing the book. And I also agree about the platform, I believe that as an author, your platform is your greatest asset. If you don’t have a platform, if you’re simply renting media from social media or paid advertisements, you’re really not going to have an effective market reach. You’re really not going to truly engage with your customers unless you have a place of your own that you can engage with them on, that you can continually and effectively reach them through. So, I wholeheartedly agree about building a platform. I think having a website and a mailing list are key for authors that want to not just sell a few books, but that really want to reach the audience that they deserve.

BKC:  I think that’s a feature of great authors and writers like you mentioned. That is really the future, without that, they’re really just looking for a one night stand for an audience, but if you looking at the future and a focus of really building people, then a platform is the way to go.

CB: Absolutely. Well Bernard, this has been such an inspiring and such an information-packed episode. I want to thank you for coming on the show today. Before we sign off, can you share one final piece of advice for the listeners and tell us the best way to get in touch with you.

BKC: Ok, I’ll say this again to you: find what works best for you. Then maximize it, then use it. And the second, in quotable quotes, I’d say that “You don’t have to be great to get started. You must get started to be great.”  So, whatever you desire to do, begin today. If you want to become a great author, just begin right away. And the third thing to do with speaking and writing is this, I’ll leave you this word: ACT upon all that you’ve heard or are going to hear. If you don’t act, you don’t take action, it’s void. It’s action that creates transformation. It’s your action transforming lives, your action leading you where you want to go. Act now. And if you want to connect with me, you can visit my website at www.bkc.name and also, you’ll want to subscribe. I’ll send you free eBooks and that’s www.bernardkelvinclive.com, or go to iTunes and subscribe to my podcast. It’s a weekly podcast, just search for Bernard Kelvin Clive. I wish you all the best and success in all that you do!

CB: Great! Thank you so much Bernard. Thank you for coming on the show and sharing your expertise, your wisdom and most importantly your passion with the listeners.

BKC: Thanks Chris! It’s a pleasure I treasure. I appreciate your time and being able to leverage your platform to reach others to inspire them. Thank you so much!

Recommended books

Why Every Entrepreneur Must Write A Book

The No Nonsense Guide to Personal Branding for Career Success

This podcast is sponsored by ImageWorks Services

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