Chandler Bolt is the CEO of Self-Publishing School, SelfPublishing.com, and the author of 6 bestselling books including his most recent book titled “Published.”.
Self Publishing School is an INC 5000 company the last 2 years in a row as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the US.
Enjoying the show?
We'd love a 5-star rating and review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast platform!
Your review lets us know what we are producing is valued and appreciated, while helping other entrepreneurs find us and be inspired, motivated, and educated by our incredible guests too.
Questions or comments? Send us a voice message.
Nicole Holland 0:04
Hey, there entrepreneur. Welcome back to another fascinating episode of Fascinating Founders. I'm your host, Nicole Holland and I'm thrilled to be your guide as we dive in and uncover the stories that came before the success of some of the world's most fascinating founders. Hailing from a multitude of industries and socio-economic starts, you're going to learn what's made these fascinating men and women realize their dreams from an inspired idea to millions in revenue, disrupting, innovating and impacting humanity for the better. Today's episode is brought to you in part by Podcasting Goldmine. Are you reaching and converting your ideal buyers through podcasts yet? You'd better believe that your competition is the podcast industry is exploding right now with billions of dollars being poured into it and well over 1 million active podcasts in the directories in just the past 90 days alone. Hundreds of thousands of new podcasts have been added and the industry will continue to grow. Whether or not you're a part of it your market my friend is listening to podcasts. And I would love to personally help you design a strategic podcast marketing plan to help your company scale and reach your business growth goals through podcasts from getting you featured as the expert guest on premium podcasts that your ideal buyers are already listening to, to designing and launching a profitable podcast for your company to show sponsorship and advertising. Podcasting for business growth is totally my jam. If you're ready to take a serious look at how you can effectively leverage podcasts for business growth, visit PodcastingGoldmine.com and request a complimentary consultation for us to explore how we can make podcasts work for you. Again, that URL is PodcastingGoldmine.com. Now you never know what we're going to get into on an episode of Fascinating Founders. So get your notebook ready, cozy up with a Great Cup of Joe. And let's dive into another inspiring journey with today's guest.
Today I'm super excited to be speaking with my friend Chandler bolt. He's the CEO of Self-Publishing School, SelfPublishing.com and the author of six best-selling books including his most recent book titled Publish, Self-Publishing School as an Inc 5000 company, the last two years in a row as one of the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in the US and we just had a little chat before recording. He's up to some really, really cool stuff. His company is innovative, it's moving forward, and I am especially excited to speak with him here today and fascinating founders because I've had the honor over the past five years of watching This young man go from he was already on. on track. He already had a couple of bestselling books he was he had already started self-publishing school. But the meteoric rise that he has had in the past five years is so inspiring and and exciting. And so it's such a pleasure to have him here today. Welcome Chandler.
Chandler Bolt 3:24
Nicole. Great to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Nicole Holland 3:25
You are so welcome. So as we're about to get going, just want to bring everybody up to speed. What is Self-Publishing School? What is it that you do?
Chandler Bolt 3:35
Yeah, so Self-Publishing School, we're an online education company, and we help people write and publish books and use those books to grow your business. So our kind of our bread and butter is taking people from idea to published in as little as 90 days typically students take three to nine months. It's kind of like on average, but help people get the book done published successfully and then most importantly, use the book to grow your business.
Nicole Holland 4:00
Amazing. And so I know a bit of a boat about your backstory. And I want my listeners to get that as well. But what I'd like to do before we talk about that sort of pivotal moment where you realize that you needed to write a book, I would love to go back further to where you were very young, and ask you what was the first time that you recognized a desire to be an entrepreneur? If you did?
Chandler Bolt 4:25
Oh, yeah, I mean, I have ran all kinds of businesses in high school and in college and then dropped out of college to run Self-Publishing School probably one of the first times at least this is my mom's favorite story is she sent me off to scout camp, because isn't the Boy Scouts, and she sent me with all these, all these snacks, and refreshments and all this stuff. And I came back with all this money and a switchblade knife. And I had sold all the snacks and refreshments and made some money and got a cool knife. And so it was like that was one of the things that early time Where I think she probably realized a little bit, maybe myself as well, but I just liked doing that sort of thing and really kick-started. I mean, I saw what she did as a realtor and what my dad did running a small construction company, we're kind of in the middle of nowhere. Um, but I saw that and I think subconsciously, you see, when your parents can come to your T ball practices, your parents can do all the things that your your friend's parents can't because they have to work. I think subconsciously that starts spinning your head, you think, Okay, I'm gonna do that one day.
Nicole Holland 5:30
Very cool. Well, let's take us up to where the book came into being. Give us a little bit about that. And then we can talk about how Self-Publishing School itself evolved, if you don't mind?
Chandler Bolt 5:40
Yes. I mean, the book came from, you know, I felt like I had some things I had learned the hard way that I wanted to share with other people. And so the message is something I wanted to share. And it just so happened that the mechanism was the book and I'm a C-level English Student college dropout, by no means was good at or enjoyed writing, but I knew that I wanted to share This message. And so I think that was the impetus of doing the book. And then we did the book. And then it was way more successful than we thought it would be, as I was dropping out of school. Then I did another book with my brother, that was a charity project. And so did that raise money for charity. And then people started asking all these questions about writing and publishing books and kind of one of those things where people can only smack you in the face so many times for your turn, I look. And then you turn around look, and there's all these people there. It started as I would have these one-off conversations, just an hour, hey, here's everything I know, Hope this helps Good luck for free just to be a nice person. And then finally, you have enough of those conversations. And then you realize, oh, shoot, I should be charging for this. And I'm working on a business that's totally failing. Meanwhile, everyone's asking about books. So we're going to do that. And then did that at our first cohort of students, 44 students and the beta program that went really well. And when was that? That was in 2014. And then we did the beta as it was called best selling book system. And then those 44 people did really well and so then I believe Okay, I can now prove that I can do this with others, and replicate the success with other people. So that gave me the confidence and kind of went behind myself, I needed to personally feel really good about it and passionate and like, Alright, let's do this. And then we launched Self-Publishing School in February of 2015. And then that's when we started getting getting more students. And then it's just kind of been off to the races since then. I mean, it's definitely been a roller coaster ride. With a lot of a lot of fun times, a lot of crazy times a lot of lessons learned a lot of failure, but that's one of our core values, fail fast, fail forward, fail often. So I believe that some of the best learning and the fastest way to learn is is to fail. And if you're afraid to fail, then you're probably not gonna learn.
Nicole Holland 7:41
Amazing. And so now Where are you in terms of size? How many people are working for you?
Chandler Bolt 7:47
Yeah, we've got about 30 full-time employees. We'll probably do about 8 million this year. And we've been on Inc 5000 last couple years in a row. So one of the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America. And one of the only publishing companies that's on that list for sure.
Nicole Holland 8:04
from a third party position, just seeing your growth. It's been so fun. It's been so fantastic. I've really enjoyed watching this. So let's go back a little bit mentioning, talking about failing. What was that company we're working on? That was not successful. When you realize, wait a minute, why am I I had an interest. It's like I had that kind of very similar thing where I was trying to do this one thing and people kept going, Hey, can you do this podcast guesting thing for me? Can you do this? Can you do this? And I'd be like, No, I don't do that. I do this. And then one day, I'm like, What am I
Chandler Bolt 8:38
doing? Like, maybe I should do that? Yeah, yeah. For me, it was, um, you know, vert, this book called the productive person. It was all about productivity hacks for entrepreneurs. That was the first book that did really well. And so we said, All right, let's just make a productivity course. And we followed all of the traditional advice, and it just totally flopped. And the thing I realized looking back because you know, now we Have a course building for authors. So we help people turn their book into a course, or, you know, create a course on the back of their book. And the thing I realized is that I built a program that nobody wanted because I didn't try to sell it first. So the thing we always recommend for people is sell then build. And so if you sell it, that people voting with their wallet, that they care about this thing, and then you can build it. And so that I To this day, I don't even know if we've sold one copy of that course, it's not an active thing. But I mean, we spent probably 15 grand in months of our life trying to build that. And then we did the opposite way which did work, which was pre-selling and then building what ultimately became Self-Publishing School.
Nicole Holland 9:41
Amazing. And that's really how you you're, what was what was the first book I'm at a loss now,
Chandler Bolt 9:47
book launch or the
Nicole Holland 9:50
book launch was that the first one after productive person and your personal project?
Chandler Bolt 9:54
Kind of I mean, there was it was a meandering road, there was six of them in like three years. So it kind of all blurs together. Like one of the big first ones was for Self-Publishing School, his book launch, like I launched that in January of 2015. And then we launched Self-Publishing School in February of 2015. And so that was that was what kind of kick-started everything.
Nicole Holland 10:15
Brilliant. And I think it was that which just was mind-blowing at the time. I was like, Oh my gosh, she makes this so simple. Like, you just broke down literally, like, here's what I'm doing. And I'm just talking into the mic, and I'm just, you know, doing this and it was like, wow, things can really be so much easier. And obviously your system has gotten much more sophisticated over the years. But it really is something that I see all the time where folks are so committed to their investments that Oh, well I already especially in my in my industry with podcasting. You know, people say well, I just bought John Lee Dumas' course I just bought Pat Flynn's course so I'm going through it and and you know, I'm doing the things And I'm going okay, and and so how long have you been having a podcast that's not making money and you're working on and they're like, well, it's been, you know, four months, it's been five months, but that's okay. I'm doing the things and I just go, it's so hard when we're in things to recognize that sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves financially and bandwidth wise is to go This isn't delivering the results that I had hoped that's pause and reevaluate and reinvest. So I love that you were recognizing that and able to do that. What was that experience like for you in the moment if you can recall, was there any resistance?
Chandler Bolt 11:38
Yeah, I mean, I think the the the big thing looking back and I didn't realize it at the time, but I think I realized it a little bit now is I feel like my skill set is making complicated things simple. So all the things that growing up refresh, you know, it's like maybe you've heard the saying, I think it's something to the effect of the best players often make the worst coaches are like the smartest People often make the worst teachers because they just don't know what it's like to struggle. And so I think as someone who was a C level English student, college dropout, add all that stuff. It's like, Okay, I know what it's like to not enjoy this and not be good at it. So let's simplify it to down to like the idiot-proof, add proof, like literally do this, then this, then this, then this. And so I think looking back, that was so although we stacked on a bunch of stuff supporting I think the goal is always and I always talk to my team about this. It's like, how do we make this more simple? How do we make this more simple? How do we make this more simple? Can we trim 25% of this and get more results? Like how do we simplify and it's, it's our theme for the whole quarter right now, as we call back to the basics. And so it's all about, hey, how do we get back to signing customers up and getting customers the results? Like if it doesn't have to do with those two things, we're not doing it so how do we strip away to that We can get back to the basics and keep things simple.
Nicole Holland 13:04
Awesome. What do you think is something that has served you in addition to that? Is there anything that's really been like a guiding principle for you that you've had and held on to that's that's helped you get to where you are and move through all those failures fast.
Chandler Bolt 13:19
Oh, man, so many hard work, grit determination. I mean, like all the oh my gosh, I've heard that before. And that's so cliche and generic, but like, really just working harder than anyone being determined having grit and then always looking to Who can I learn from like, how can I get better, and how can I improve? And so I've got a video on this on my YouTube channel. It's called the seven-figure principles show, but it talks about the college dropouts approach to learning. And so I think the big thing for me was that I dropped out of school, but I act as if I was still in it. And so I remember just thinking to myself, okay, I've got two more years left in school and I will would have spent X amount of money so what if I if I attacked with that same level of learning and discipline and rigor towards learning, and then also financially investing in conferences and courses and books and all that stuff and like, Okay, how do I, I've dropped out of school, but how do I take the college dropouts approach to learning
Nicole Holland 14:19
so good in this short amount of time, like, you just boom, boom, boom, like all these bombs have dropped? I'm really excited about that and to share that with everyone. I would love to before we wrap up, is there anything that I haven't asked you about that you think is really foundational or fundamental to your founder's journey that you'd like to share with us as sort of a words of wisdom?
Chandler Bolt 14:43
Oh, man, there's so much there's so much like the big thing that I think it's important for people to hear is I remember a friend in past mentor mine. How ride. He said, one of the first time we've met this has always stuck with me. He said, you know, Chandler, it takes 10 years to become an overnight success
He says people see where I'm at now, and they don't see where I've been. And so I think that's super important. It's very easy to compare and look where people are at and forget where they've been. Or it's like the whole iceberg theory, right? You see the tip of the iceberg, you don't see all the stuff is below the surface. And so wherever you're on your journey, I think it's super important not to get frustrated, and not to give up too early. Like I see this, whether you're an entrepreneur, whether you're like, I see this with people that come to work at Self-Publishing School, I think people have too short of a lens, or short of a timeline. So like, I gotta do this in three months, or gotta, you do this in six months, or like, you know, I'm going to invest in this thing, it's gonna pay off like immediately, or, like, I got to get promoted immediately or I gotta get make a million dollars immediately. Like all these things. I think people don't take a long enough approach. And I looking back I'm like I said, there's so many instances where I fell into that trap because I'd see people around me being more successful. By taking shortcuts, and then I think all of a sudden, like, I don't know, maybe I should do that. And so like, you start looking at that, and I think it compromises your values, and you got to believe in the way and doing things the right way. And so I think, you know, there's a lot of times along the journey of, Okay, I feel conviction about the way that I want to do this are like, the standard with which I want to sit here or whatever. But then you look around, you're like, well, no one else is really doing that. So it feels like it gives you permission to lower the standard. That's another one of our core values. Self-Publishing School best is the standard. So we're always talking about like, hey, how can we raise the standard and be the best and everything that we choose to focus on so that and don't have a business partner. So, a mentor of mine said one time he's like, he had this yacht, and it was just awesome. And he's like channeling you know, I love ships. I love tall ships, long ships, small ships, fancy ships, but Lord have mercy don't put me in a partnership. And that was his approach for partnerships. It's becoming mind as well, I believe there's no such thing as 5050 partners gotta, it's on the seven-figure principle show, I talked about why. And there's just no such thing. I don't believe in not partnering with people. But I believe that there's no such thing as a 5050 partner. And also, just yeah, there's, I think, don't partner out of insecurity. That's one of the things I wish I would have told myself, you kind of going back as I, I partnered early on, out of insecurity that I wasn't good enough and then I couldn't do it and ended up having to pay multiple six figures to buy out that business partner, which I call that paying tuition to the school of life. So anytime, you know, you make a mistake, like that financial mistake you can either sit look at is I lost money, or I just paid to learn a lesson. And so I paid to learn a lesson. And that was one of them. So those would kind of be final thoughts on that front.
Nicole Holland 17:50
Amazing. I've loved all of this. I adore you. And I'm so excited for people to get more of your wisdom. What's the best way for people to read out what do you want them to do if they want to get into your, your circle and and learn more from you?
Chandler Bolt 18:07
Yeah, so I don't really have social media, I'm on Facebook, that's it. But if you want to learn more about Self-Publishing School, kind of one of the best places to go, we got a really it's a post on how to write a book. And it's like kind of dropped the mic. There's a book outline template generator there, it's really really solid. There's, you can get a free copy of my book published, there's webinar training, like that's the main place to start. And we got tons of resources on Self-Publishing School website. And then honestly, if you google anything about writing and publishing books, you will probably end up on either Self-PublishingSchool or SelfPublishing.com which is another site that we own and run as well. And somehow you end up and then I'll start out always end up in your your Facebook feed or your Instagram feed or whatever. And yeah, check us out, and we're happy to help however we can.
Nicole Holland 18:53
Fantastic, thanks so much.
And there you have it. Thanks again, for tuning in. I do realize that there are about a million other things you could have been doing over the past half hour. And the fact that you chose to spend it listening to this podcast means the world to me. I would love to know what your biggest takeaway from today's episode was. So feel free to send it on social tagging me @TheNicoleHolland on Facebook or Instagram, or send me a message from my website FascinatingFounders.com. You'll also find show notes with the transcript from this and all other past and future podcast episodes on the website. that URL once more is FascinatingFounders.com Thanks to my Podcasting Goldmine team for the production of today's episode, and a special shout out to Effy Ceruti, for composing the intro and outro music for this season. If you're looking for custom composed music for your own podcast or any other aspect of strategy, design, or production for your existing or new podcasts, the Podcasting Goldmine team can help give us a ring at 218-GET-SEEN or contact us through the website for a custom quote. And once again, if you are ready to explore effectively leveraging podcasts for business growth, visit PodcastingGoldmine.com and request a complimentary consultation to explore making podcasts work for you. Again, that URL is PodcastingGoldmine.com. Coming up on Fascinating Founders. I'm excited to introduce you to more fascinating men and women who've taken their inspired idea and against all odds have grown it into a multi-million or billion-dollar enterprise. Until next time, this is Nicole Holland, signing off.