#51: How to Write a Best-Selling Book With Publishing Expert Azul Terronez

Writing and publishing your first book can be scary, but it is a great opportunity not only for writers - but also for creators and entrepreneurs to grow a brand.

Welcome to The Creator's Adventure where we interview creators from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business.

Today we are talking with Azul Terronez about how to write and publish a best-selling book, how he became a successful author and book coach fighting dyslexia and how publishing a book can help you grow a business.

Azul Terronez is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author and book coach who specializes in helping leaders write and publish books that elevate their brand. As the CEO of the six-figure company Authors Who Lead, he has enabled Wall Street CEOs, professional athletes, and successful YouTubers to write and publish books.

He has been a keynote speaker at international education conferences and his TEDx talk, “What Makes a Good Teacher Great”, has been viewed over 3.4 million times.

Learn more about Azul: https://authorswholead.com/


Bryan McAnulty: Welcome to The Creator's Adventure, where we interview Creator's from around the world, hearing their stories about growing a business. Today's guest coached Pat Flynn on how to write a book, and he's gonna share that story with us, but also share how, whether you're creating a course or writing your own book, how you can discover exactly what it is that your audience wants to know.

Hey everyone. I'm Bryan McAnulty, the founder of Heights Platform. Let's get into it.

Hey everyone. We're here today with Azul Terronez. He is a Wall Street Journal and U S A today bestselling author and book coach who specializes in helping leaders write and publish books that elevate their brand. As the founder of the Six Figure Company authors Who Lead, he has enabled Wall Street CEOs, professional athletes, and successful YouTubers to write and publish books.

And he's been a keynote speaker at International Education Conferences and his TEDx Talk. What makes a good teacher Great has been viewed over 3.4 million times. Welcome to the show.

Azul Terronez: Thank you so much, Bryan. Glad to be here.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. So my first question for you is, what would you say is the biggest thing that either you did or you are doing that's helped you achieve the freedom to do what you enjoy?

Azul Terronez: I think the very first thing was to take a chance on yourself. I mean, I think. I, I spent most of my life as a very traditional employee, meaning I was a school teacher and then a principal, and then a professor. Those are all very, very traditional, you know, long-term career oriented sort of pathways. But taking a chance on myself was probably the thing that I did that made the biggest impact on the shift of where I am now.

Because. For the longest time, it didn't seem reasonable to leave something so, so close to the end cuz 25 years is a long time to be in something. But I realized that, that it wasn't the life that I wanted to lead. So I think that's the thing that really shifted for me is having. That first belief and then testing it out.

So what I mean by that is, so I was a school teacher at the time and someone reached out from Shanghai American School in China, said, Hey, we need a coach for our school. Would you be interested if we've heard you coach schools? And I was coaching schools around the world, which is part of that kind of got that travel bug.

You know, I went to Barcelona, I was coaching schools in Chile, in Australia. I was like, this is really cool. I like this. So they invited me to come be a, like a full-time in-house coach for their. and they were willing to pay everything. My travel, my flights back and forth to school, my housing all my taxes.

Very interesting proposition, cash bonus at the end of every year. I was like, well, that sounds like a good idea, but it, it didn't make a lot of sense to a lot of people because it's like, wow, that's risky. You're leaving the country. My daughter was a senior in high school. Like there was a lot of things that didn't, weren't the things that we thought we should do.

Hmm. But my husband and I, we decided, look, I, I, we want more freedom. We've gotta test out whether or not we wanna live in another country and whether or. We can actually do this. So I, the only thing I told the people that were hiring me, you have to allow me to continue my side hustle, which is I'm coaching authors and building this podcast, and I just want you to know I want the freedom to do that, and I want the ability to do that even during the day if it's necessary.

And they're, they said yes. So like, this is the best of both worlds. I get to do what I love. I'm not a classroom teacher. I don't have that responsibility. So that, I think betting on yourself is like the biggest thing I did to help me achieve my freedom.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. Yeah. So, . We saw also you mentioned on your website that like you did all that while dealing with dyslexia.

So can you talk a little bit or walk us through like the journey of how you overcame that while also becoming not only a, a bestselling author, but successful business owner?

Azul Terronez: Yeah. You know, ironically, you, you can't ever really overcome dyslexia. It's just the way your brain processes information, so, I was the kid in third grade when they put you in these reading groups.

I was the kid that still couldn't read at third grade. So, because I could fake my way and read and memorize primes and look like I'm reading, but by the time they ask, you know, they stopped doing reading instruction. You're kind of on your own. I still couldn't read. So I. It was really difficult.

School's hard and so I got into ucla, which is a big accomplishment, especially since no one had ever been to college in my family. But more importantly because I was dyslexic and it was really difficult. I didn't know I was, this is the part that was hard is I just thought I was stupid . So, It wasn't until I was almost a, a senior that I listened to a lecture in a class auditing an education class that the professor said he had dyslexia.

I had never really heard that word or knew what that meant, but as he described his symptoms and what it does, I was like, oh my gosh. Mm-hmm. , that's me. That's exactly me. So, Because I had flunked freshman English at ucla. So here I am, you know, excited. And then I had to go to junior college or City College to take the class over again.

I'm thinking, what am I doing here? But what, what I was able to do? Why wa why did it work? How did I go on to become one, an English teacher, which is so funny to me. A professor and then also get a graduate degree from ucla. Not because I got better at reading. I got more clear about what I was good at.

So what I was really good at that most of my peers weren't, was looking for the things underneath the words. Everyone else was studying the words cuz they could, I couldn't. So I studied, well, words aren't the thing, what's the thing trying to be said here? What's the thing pointing to? And so I got good at messages and, and the nuance within words.

And so that became a superpower. So I could have intellectual deep conversations or. When writing was difficult because I was paying attention in a different way. So that became a superpower. So that's really what makes me really useful to other people. One, if I'm dyslexic and become one, not only a teacher and professor, but become a writer and a coach, it isn't because I'm good at English, it's because I'm really good at this thing.

It's finding the messages within people, giving them confidence to write. So dyslexia actually became a superpower, but not becau the way that traditionally, if you think about traditional schooling, it was terrible. Outside of the, the outside world where you need your brain to, to make really different connections than just what's visible.

Then it became really valuable. I could see things differently. So yeah, that's how it's really helped and serve me as well as being a business owner, being the CEO is being able to see just under the surface what might be going on. Or where we should let go of something or focus on something else.

Because for a long time it was just, you know, me as a, my partner is a sort of side hustle, two of us making it work, but now we have team members and it's growing. I have to continue to share that vision cuz I have, my brain doesn't work like the rest of the team. They're all editors and they have a very strong background in writing and so I have to help them see why it's not just about words on the page.

It's not about just experts with information. We're drowning in information. So I tell them, you, you can't think of this as perfect English. We're looking for that spark that changes people's lives, and that's not found in textbooks. The experts in textbooks live at universities aren't as valuable to us as we think, and otherwise we'd be dumpster diving at the end of a semester looking for the books.

Oh my God, the. We don't care that it's well written or that they're experts. We want to believe that somehow it's possible for us. So that's the thing I try to help my team understand, and that's the gift of dyslexia because I'm not looking for how do we make this well written necessarily? That's their job.

My job is to, how do we make this impactful? How do we make this serve the reader? That's there. And that's how that, that's the biggest problem. Most experts come with way too much information and they drown their reader and you, they don't learn anything from you. It actually felt like you let them down.

And that's kind of unfortunate. And that's the biggest problem I find with really high performing and people with lots of knowledge in their head is how do I make it so simple that they're not misunderstood.

Bryan McAnulty: Exactly. Yeah. So my background is design software, design software, product. And what I always like to say is never underestimate the user's ability to misunderstand because there are no matter how clear you think you made it, there's always different ways that not, not because somebody's stupid, but it's that they have, everybody has different ways of thinking or different ways of interacting with something that, yeah, you, you always have to assume that there's, there's some way that somebody might misunderstand something and not just think, this is clear to me, so this is how it is.

So yeah, I really like that. I would say also that what were you saying about how the, yeah, the, the dumpster diving and all that and the experience. Yes. So it's something that I think a lot of course, Creator's struggle with that. Yes. When you're an expert in something, you're going to teach it.

It's important to understand that there's all these things that happened early on. that you, you've forgotten a million times by now because you're, you're at Yeah. Such a high level and it's something that we kind of give to advice to newer creator. where they can actually feel hopefully more inspired to be able to teach something even if they're not that absolute expert yet.

Because as long as you're one step ahead, then you can provide value to potential customers. And if you're that true expert is actually harder for you because you have to go back and remember what are all those pitfalls, those problems that I had, that you've forgotten from years ago. Whereas if you just.

That's all like fresh in your mind and so, yeah. Yeah. I think for the experts more, more time is spent on that. More time is spent researching, doing things like, like kind of pre-selling your course and getting feedback to understand those questions over again, and remember. Oh yeah, I remember when I, I struggled with that too.

Azul Terronez: Yeah. Yeah. Just imagine what it would take for you to go, how do I teach someone how to be a, a SAS grader? Like, oh my gosh, where did you st I mean, there's a bazillion paths you could start with that's true for writing or creating a message as well, is that you, you make the big assumption that knowing everything is what they need and they don't, they really don't need all of it.

It's a river, right? It's, it's just where you enter into the river. Like, don't, don't enter someone into the river right before the rapids if they'd never been in a canoe or something. Right. You know, let them start upstream a bit, or it's calm and slow and they get used to it. Like, so I think Creator's have to think about who they're ideally trying to impact.

If you're like, this is good for everyone, then they've already started on the wrong path. It can't be good for everyone. It's not, it's, it's impossible to be good for everyone. So you have to think of, what if my ideal reader or client or you know, person, I'm creating this for? is, is in this space. What are they thinking and feeling about this?

Not just what they know, because this is the assumption Creator's make that I need to tell everything I know. No, they, they're thinking and feeling stuff that has nothing to do about what they know. So you've got to understand their, their, their brain. So when you do that, you're able to write in a way that they go, how do they know where?

What I'm thinking that's the goal. Mm-hmm. , you want them to feel like, how do they know? Right. One of my, one of the books I use quite a bit as a quote for my authors, The book by Chris Foss Never Split the Difference. And one, it's a brilliant title, simple Premise, which is he's an FBI hostage negotiator, I dunno, for several decades.

And he talks about how he's able to get hostages released from terrorists without ever using any money or anything, cuz the US doesn't negotiate with terrorists. So he's gotta get these people. But he can't, you know, use that leverage that you would think would be most obvious money with what they're asking for.

And the thing he says that struck me is how he gets people released. He goes, the moment I know I can get them free is when I get the captor. Someone to say, yeah, that's right. If I can get some, create some sort of bridge of empathy between what I think they're feeling and what they're feeling and they can nod and say, that's right, then he knows he can get them free.

That's true in books or courses too. If you can get them to say that they're gonna keep going. , if you get them to, if you're just drowning them with information, they're, that's not the thing that gets them to move forward, right? They have all these fears of doubt that it worked for you, but not me.

They're, they're not thinking about this is how you hit record or this is how you do this. They're thinking about, but I'm not good in technology, , so that's the thing. I hope Creator's remember, it's like simplicity is worth way more than complexity and it's a lot harder to. and you have to be willing to let go of your, your own expertise in order to serve the person, right?

They need a lot less than you think, and they're not like you. The assumption is they're like me where I was. No, they're not. Unless they are, unless that's who you want to attract. But be careful because we make huge assu assumptions about. What we hear from people I'll give you an example and then you can, maybe you can go on to the next thing, but for sure Pat Flynn, who is the, the founder of Smart Passive Income and his blog and podcast is where I started to know him back in, you know, 2010 was writing a book and asked me to help him.

And we can get into how that all occurred later, but. . He wanted to write. He has so much knowledge from seo, to affiliate marketing, to content ration, to, I mean, he could write about everything, and that's what he had said. He says like, Azu, I wanna write a book about, like an online encyc books encyclopedia for online everything.

I was like, wow, that seems like a lot. He goes, yeah, a series of books. I can see it. And I said, okay, let's, let's, let's slow down here. One, do people read encyclopedias, ? He's like, oh, no. , let's stop there. And we really had to work on who he is serving cuz he wanted to serve. He didn't wanna let down the people that really loved his high advanced SEO strategies.

And the, the really advanced tactics, though he enjoyed it, but that's not the majority of his audience. 70% of them had never made more than $500 online. So all those advanced tactics actually didn't serve the majority of the people that paid attention to 'em. So as we did that, we had to back up way far away, which is.

The wonder and will this idea even. That's where the idea of Will it fly came from, will this even work? That's where they're at. And if he serves that audience, those people, the 70% of his audience were there. He will have a winning book. If he doesn't, he's gonna basically write a book that is vanity for, for vanity's sake.

I have a book. And so that was really where I, I helped people who were really talented in lots of areas to kind of find the, the simpler path forward, which is service and service to the person they're trying to, to, to provide the content. Awesome. Yeah, I

Bryan McAnulty: mean, I think that's so important, not only in in books, not only in course creation, but like your whole, your marketing, everything you're doing in your business.

Because yeah, like on one hand I could imagine somebody's listening to this and they say, okay, well I'm really, I am that expert. I really am so passionate about everything you're saying, and Azu, you just told me that I have to dumb it down or make it simple, and that doesn't sound fun. I wanna talk about all these things.

I really enjoy , but what I would say to that person, is that the way you have to think about it is you are making it simple to help all those people who aren't ready for all the complexities or aren't, aren't. They don't have that interest yet in all these little fine details of these things that you've learned over the years, cuz they're just not there yet.

But if you can create this simple course, book, whatever it is to get them to that point. Now you've just given this result to your audience, where now you have this group of people that you can communicate with. You can share those exact like expert level skills and strategy.

Azul Terronez: That's right. And if you, let's say your industry's crowded, whatever you're creating a course in or writing a book about.

The way you can stand out is by understanding that notion that most people aren't looking for how they're looking at for what and why they. They're stuck, right? Most people don't publish their podcast or stop, not because they don't know how. They stop believing that it matters and that they're capable.

I mean, you know, because you created a platform where coaching is, or courses is a part of that whole journey of a learner is the majority of people won't finish the course. They started. So as a creator, start there. If they're not gonna finish this, what are the reasons? What are the reasons in my industry in writing a book, it's not there's, here's how you write a book because you can get a book for a dollar 99 and Kindle about how to organize in your book.

People buy hundreds of those and never finish. I know I was one of them. , I tell people it took me 24 years and 30 days to write my book, 24 years to take a course, seminars software. And then when I finally figured out the problem and the, the system for getting it done, I wrote my first book in 30 days with only the hour or so a day I had to spare.

But it took me a long time cuz I used to think that I needed to know my problem was my, my block was what I needed to. . I had a lot of intuition or I wouldn't be there. Right? That's true. For these people who are taking your course, you've gotta remember. Imposter syndrome or the doubt that they can do, it will sit right beside their learning.

And you have to assume that. Don't just let it to chance. Fix it for them. Solve it for them. And they'll, they'll not only finish the course, they'll have incredible success and they'll attribute it to you as opposed to, I bought this course, it was really cool, but I couldn't finish. That's a terrible thing.

You know, you wanna sell more of your product, deal with this problem more than even how to do something. And you'll really stand out in the. . Yeah.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, definitely. That's so important. And I mean, I always tell everyone, like our focus with our software itself is thinking, how can we improve things for the learner?

How can we improve how the creator can share their expertise and their knowledge in the best way possible to get the learner to that result? Because if the person never gets the result from it, then at the end of the day, what are you doing? Yeah, maybe you can make some money, but long term, if you can't get a result for those people, how are they gonna buy from you again?

How are they gonna buy that next higher level product? and mm-hmm. and how are you gonna make the impact that you wanna make? So that, that's gotta come above everything, in my opinion.

Azul Terronez: That's right. I, I think that's, and it's, it's not as easy as you think because unfortunately we become course designers and, and teachers when we don't have a lot of background in it.

So we're, we just emulate what we know or what we observe. So we emulate a course we took and say, I can make it better, which is not a problem. . We remember how we were taught in school and said, I hate that. I'll do it this way, or I love that and I'll do it this way. But we have a default setting on what learning looks like, and unfortunately, that's usually wrong.

So you've gotta reprogram your brain to think differently, right? We don't learn from you telling us what to do, you We learn. We learn from experiencing things and making meaning of them. And if you don't have an opportunity for your reader, your person taking your course to understand, That transitioned from knowledge to wisdom, then you're only gonna have somebody who read your book or took your course but did nothing.

And that's, that's the part that it's really, I mean, I spent the first two years of my coaching life, not even having a website. . So I think people misunderstand, people talked about the work I did. They couldn't help it because the thing I helped them overcome, they had fixed for life. They never needed to come back to me again.

Though they might come to me for advice, I really did give them a skill to take with them. And so if they, anyone came to us like, I'm running a book, but I have a hard time, they'd always said, you need to go talk to Aulin, because I fixed it for them. And they touted the, the solution not to how to, but the thing that was keeping them from doing the.

So I, I, I get, I get calls from people with huge audiences and huge advances in book deals when they're stuck because their, their book person isn't, is, is a editor by trade book. Coaches normally are editors, I'm not. So they're, they're just like, let's just get together. And they're trying to solve it with words.

What the person is struggling with is fear or doubt. And the writer try the, the coach will try to solve it with structure and instead of structure with a problem. I would be outta work. And so would you. Structure isn't the thing. It is a more nuanced, powerful thing that's, that's at work here. It's so I want to encourage people to think that your gift is more than just what you know, and you've got to figure it out.

Why you're the unique messenger that's bringing this to them, because I'm sure there are lots of other courses just like quote yours, but why? It's not, why is yours better? Your better doesn't mean more stuff. Better means why does it solve my problem? My fears, my doubt, my wonders before you anticipate them, before I even have them, then I, I trust you.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, exactly. I love that. All right, awesome. Well, I actually wanna backtrack slightly because, so you talked about how like you had this. This dream and it was the side hustle and you eventually took this kind of leap into doing what you're doing now. So I think there's probably people listening to this that say like, okay, that's awesome.

So you, you've got the skill and you, you polished it to the point, like just like you could polish a product to the point that, that people go out there and they talk about you, just like you're saying without the website and all that first. So somebody's saying like, I want that too. But I imagine that there's probably people listening to this where they're.

Maybe a place in their journey that you once were, where they're doing this kind of as a side hustle. And so how did that look to you? Like was it something where you said like, I'm just going to completely make the switch? Was it something where like you were working as a side hustle for a while? Like was it just something?

I think also a lot of people struggle, like it's in their head that I wanna do this, I wanna do this, but they just. They don't do it yet. So how did that actually work out for you when you were starting into transition to what you do now?

Azul Terronez: That's a great question. I so I wrote, I wrote my book sitting in the classroom floor and in between making dinners for my kids or running them to track practice and things.

So I was building the side hustle and writing a book. I was never intending to be a book coach. I, I didn't even think that that would be a thing. I didn't know anything about that. So as I was building. My, my platform for my book to just launch this book, I, I was following a premise, which is in the book is called The Art of Apprenticeship, which the premise is if you wanna be really good at something, sit at the foot of the master, right?

Observe those who do it well. And most people make the mistake of going and asking, can I pick your brain? Things like this and ask you for questions, you know? And I think they're missing the point. I can't tell you anything in answering your question that might help you. Exactly. But if you pay enough attention, you might see the nuance of what I'm doing.

So the book is about just being an apprentice, serving, serving first, being in that role. And I picked somebody and so I picked Pat Flynn cause I was like, I really like, these are the people I liked. I admir. Chris gbo, pat Flynn. I just like their demeanor, their beliefs, like their values just lined up with me, Seth Goden.

So I was like, I gotta figure out how I can connect with these three people. I don't know how, I don't know anything about online anything. I'm, I'm not even sure how it all wor I, SEO and websites didn't thrill me. You know, what had thrilled me is, you know, helping people. So I figured I gotta shadow and follow these people.

To learn. And I didn't go to say to learn like tell them, Hey, I'm here to learn from you. I just went and served their community and I could help someone who was just a step behind me. So I would do that. And I showed up to this event cuz Pat had a one day business event with his friend Chris Ducker. And who runs Youpreneur.

And they did this one day business event and I showed up. I bought a ticket even though I maxed out my credit card to do it. I went for this one day. I had to get a substitute for my classroom. I didn't have the money at the time. My partner had already left his career, was like, we're we gotta get outta this rat trap?

But we were not rolling in the ditto when I got there, I just applied that principal serving first and I think I learned so much from that before I started to create the thing because I was in a room where I didn't belong. Really, and I've heard this before, like, go to the place where you are totally like you are down here.

Don't be where you're you, you know everything. I was like, I knew nothing. I was like embarrassed because, so you sign up for these things and it's a 20 person in a mastermind event, which I didn't even know what meant. And then I read the directions and you're gonna sit on a hot seat. And I was like, what is that?

And they're like, you're gonna get help from your business. I was like, oh crap. I don't have a business. You need to have a business. So everybody's like, what's your funnel? What's your email size? What's your idea for your business? What courses are you selling? I didn't even have an idea. So here am I at this event with six and seven figure business owners, and I said, I have to write this book because I can't show up empty handed.

So the 30 days was my motivation. I wrote that book and sent it to the editor the day before and chronicled my journey. Facebook at the time. And when I got there, what shifted for me was I realized that I didn't know the gift that I had. I thought the gift, I didn't even know what it was. And when I told them I wrote this book in 30 days, they weren't impressed necessarily with a topic they were all impressed with.

Well, how the heck did you do that? That's where my first clients came from. So sharing where you're at, what you're going through is, is probably way more valuable than you. And so my high site hustle started right there. People from there started coming up to me, can you help me? Can you help me? I didn't even, because I'm a teacher, of course I could help you.

I didn't know what to offer. I didn't even know what I was offering. I said, they're like, well, how much does it cost? I just said, $500. They're like, every month. I'm like, yeah. They're like, okay. I. Didn't know if that was a lot, a little, I didn't know what I would do. I just started when people offered me money, I said yes and to figure out what they wanted.

Basically they were paying me to learn from what they wanted from me, what they needed, and I just started creating things over time. And so I did decide hustle as I was working my job and would work nights and evenings and just kept hustling with these sort of people who came to me. Get ideas and write books.

And as they got successful pat Flynn was one of those people, Hey, you know could you help me write a book? Yeah. . I didn't know if I, I mean, I just assumed I could, I didn't know how, I didn't know what his problem was, but I figured I'd learn. And so that's kind of how I kept going and making, you know, raising my prices getting more clients and just moving forward.

And I think I, at first I thought I had to make a course right away, but I wasn't certain about what made me unique versus everyone else. So I started just imitating other people, and that was probably the biggest mistake I made. I wasn't able to sell something that wasn't true. So I think I missed my opportunity.

I started to chase the course cuz it seems so great. Passive income seems so awesome. And the truth is, you know, passive income is not a, it's, you know, it doesn't really exist. You get better at getting income aligned with your values and how many people serve in your role in your company. , I think you can make passive income, but it's not as as easy as that.

So I learned a lot about just side hustle and I was able to then quit my job. Now, I didn't replace my income completely nor my partner, but we said we have to live very meager if we're gonna do this, if we leave our jobs. So five years ago we both totally left and we've been making our living ever since.

And yeah, it was, it was just sort of slowly replacing the income to a place where I was like, we sold everything we. We moved to another country we got rid of our cars. We didn't need insurance cuz we were provided by like we did a lot of things and eventually that, that gave me time to think I needed time to think working two jobs and then going like, it's just your brain's so fogged, you're just become a doer and you need to be a thinker too.

Yeah. So that's kind of my journey, how I kind of started to fill in the pieces slowly over time.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. Yeah. Well that's a great story and I think that's an important point about the doer and thinker because. , especially as like anyone involved in any kind of creative profession, it's finding that balance of when am I thinking, reflecting, and, and understanding things versus when am I just doing the take action.

Of course, like you have to take action no matter what, but yeah, you have to leave time for both of those things. Otherwise you just keep moving down this path, but you gotta have some point to reflect and think about what's the, the way forward. , right?

Azul Terronez: Yeah, because I, like I said, I built this course, I spent a lot of money building it and all these things, and I ended up being a really, the thing that was great about it was I ended up realizing I built this for my clients because I kept repeating myself and I just go watch lesson two, module six or whatever, and that helps me, and I realize, oh, maybe I'm just thinking of courses as different.

I know that my clients won't finish a course, but that's why they're coming to me. So I, rather than push 'em into the course, I just pull them out of it and say, that's where you go. When you know what you're doing mm-hmm. , you don't go there when you don't know what you're doing. You stay here with me so I can help you know what you should be doing.

So I kind of just flipped it around and used it as a repository for learning and, and let the part that they needed most work with me. And now I do both. I teach. Those mindset stuff that they're missing early on before they even know they're gonna have it. So like for my, in my industry, that's where you gotta figure out what the biggest pain point.

My industry, most people don't assume, like people assume that rider's block is a thing, right? We hear about it all the time and maybe you've even experienced it, but I tell people it's like, it's the block isn't because you have too little to say your block is cuz you have too much to say and my job is to empty the funnel so you can know how to move forward.

So your block has nothing to do with what's real. Because you don't get plumber's block or hairdresser block or lawnmowers block, right? It's not a real thing, but you think it is. So my job is to teach them that and say, oh, I'm, I'm stuck. I go, what if you're stuck? What's wrong? Like, the funnel's clogged, right?

What do you need to, they're like empty the funnel. I go, let's start, let's start emptying it. So they, they're, they're training, I'm training them to, to overcome this thing that they've assumed is real. So that that's not what keeps them from moving forward through the coursework. But if you don't assume they're gonna have this, 90% of your people won't finish your course.

It doesn't matter what you think, how good your course is, because the thing they're fighting against has nothing to do with your course. It's the thing that's not in your course that they're fighting with. So, and that's the same way when I'm working with books, is like, you gotta make the assumptions that they're struggling with something that you, you haven't talked about if they aren't doing it yet.


Bryan McAnulty: Yeah. That's great. I wanna also draw attention to how, you mentioned when you started out kind of just saying yes to things and taking on those clients. And I think that's such an excellent way for like anybody to start business, a side hustle, a service that they wanna offer because that made me kind of relate to.

Myself doing something similar that I started as like a web design studio and well, we were like, we were like everything, multimedia, design of brand, web, everything. And eventually it made more sense to focus. But I'm really glad we were so broad in the beginning because if somebody was like, oh, I, I need a video, I need a website, I need postcards designed like we would do anything.

and yeah, when it came to like the technology side, like the website back then I remember like Adobe Flash was still a thing. Somebody would say like, well, we want a flash website. And the first time I did a project like that, I was like, well, I don't really know how this works, but I figured out, okay, this is what they need.

I'm gonna learn how to do it and figure it out. And like I knew I was confident I wasn't, wasn't gonna rip him off or anything. I was confident I'd be able to deliver it. But I think that was such an excellent experience. For me to try all those things because it led me to understand what I could be the best at and what I wanted to do the most.

Just as it sounds like it's done the same for you, that you didn't assume like, oh, I'm gonna be a book coach. And you discovered that through working with those clients

Azul Terronez: That's, and, and, and what they needed from me was, was bizarre because I was making assumptions already about what their problems were.

I, I can talk about it cuz Pat's open about it. We've talked about it many times on his own podcast, but, , his block, his biggest thing was he needed to have me in his corner to know he was on the right path. That's not something a course usually delivers, right. That's something he usually does for his students.

But because his story, his life story is inspirational. Like he kind of constantly reminds them who he is so they don't forget how he started. But more than anything, pat was a blogger. He was a. . So he's like, why can't I write this book? Like I said, part of it was reconstructing his mind to understand what his brain was doing, so he wasn't oblivious to why he was stuck.

So when he started to write, he's like, I, every time I write, I get stuck. And I was like, well, we read a piece. He's like, tell me about this. He's like, well, I just want to sound good. I'm like, who's it? Who's it sound good? Like, who do you mean? He's like, like Malcolm Gladwell. I go, oh, okay. I found the problem.

What? You're not Malcolm Gladwell . Oh. But I want it to seem like I'm smart, like I'm intelligent. Like I really admire him. I go, yeah, but you're not Malcolm Gladwell. He is. I bet you he talks like that at parties. He's probably that same person in when you go chat with him and get a latte as he is and the book, he's not trying to sound that way.

He is that way. You have to be you on the page. And once he believed, Writing became a little bit easier. The next thing was, why can't I write this book? It's so hard. I go, where are you? Write, tell me where you're writing. He's like, well, I open a Word doc and I start writing. Go, how do you do? How do you do blogs?

He goes, well, I create a Google Doc and a title, and I write for like an hour, and then I'm done. I go, well, why don't we write your book like that? He's like, you might can do that. Like just put it in Google Docs. Uhhuh, . Wow, this is gonna be really easy. I'm like, right. So my job isn't to teach him how to do anything cuz you're your own best teacher.

My job is to reveal to him what's already right in front of him and just show him what he's saying or seeing or not seeing. That's the magic. So all that in a course can be complicated, but now I'm learned to anticipate these things are gonna happen. People are gonna have these challenges. People are gonna have, it doesn't matter how amazing they are, they're all gonna have this imposter syndrome.

And they won't call it that because we, as entrepreneurs, we give, we like, we, you know, we're over that. But it's not true. It's, it never goes away. It's something that sort of lingers in the background. But what I observed is they're usually using their editor brain. I say we are trained to be editors, not writers.

Most of us in school teachers were the responsible for this, the institution of teaching. Because we decide when we get an assignment in schools, whether it's middle school, high school or university, what grade am I gonna get? So we go, here's the assignment. It's due on this date. I'm an A student. I should start now, or I'm an A student and I'll write that paper night before and it'll be great.

or, and then when we get the grade that meets that we're happy, I'm a B student, I can settle for a b, I don't wanna rewrite it. So we're already editing to an end before we even start writing. We don't care if it makes sense. We don't care if we're passionate, we just wanna pass the day in class. So we write, we edit, we write.

We're constantly editing to get it towards that goal. Well, we never turned that off and all of a sudden, writing books. Stop trying to prove yourself. Good to get an A and RA is a bestseller. Lots of great reviews. I said, you're, you're trying to, to edit your way to some success. You can't because your editor brain is constantly keeping you.

Cause if you ever write, delete, write, delete, or think, I gotta think, think, think. Now. Write. No, no, no. That's an editor in your head, not a writer. A writer just sits down and writes. And when people say, but what, how do I know what I'm gonna write about? . You. You, you'll know when you write it. Well, but, but how do I know?

I'm writing about, I go, you're an editor, aren't you? Like, no, I wanna be a writer. I'm like, well, stop editing. You're telling me what you're fixing before you start. That's an editor brain. I go, if you're gonna think, think on the page. I don't want you thinking your head that confuses writers. But I was like, it only confuses you cuz you're trained to be an editor.

Creative people. Just right, and I'll tell you why I know this and then we can move on if you'd like, but Sure. I was working in, in a young classroom and it was pre kindergarten, like pre-writing skills and teaching them how to write. I went in the class to work with this teacher to show them how you can teach writing to to kindergartners and.

And you know, they give 'em that paper with a big, the big lines and the big pencils and a little place to draw. And I said, okay, we're gonna write stories today, everyone. And so when I say go and the teacher's like, wait, no, some of these kids don't even know how to write their name. They're, they don't have letters, recognition.

I was like, it's okay. I said, we're gonna write and I'm gonna give you, you know, here's a signal when we're ending. And they were right. And at the end when I cleaned the bell, you're going to ring the bell. You're going to stop and share your stories. I'm like, And I said, ready, set, go. And off they went.

They grabbed markers and pencils and they're kids are scribbling to look like handwriting and other kids are drawing and other, the kids that were given writing were taking really slow time to try to write one letter at a time. When the time was up, those kids were just writing a letter. That's what they had.

I had a few words, 1, 2, 3 words. The kids had just wrote stories whether I could recognize the language on the page or not. Didn't. . So I'd go to the story, Hey Johnny, what's this say? He's like, oh, this is a story about an aunt. I said, well, Johnny, what's, what happens? He goes, well, the aunt is supposed to go from school but gets lost.

And so the mother is really worried about him and his mother's an elephant. And the mother goes looking for him and she figures he'd be in a tree. So she gets it in the tree and she gets stuck and Johnny goes on to tell this beautiful story at the beginning, middle, and end. It's just well done.

Characterization, funny, the lesson and then, and then ended. And I was like, that's amazing. With every bit of confidence that what he was writing had no sense of words, didn't outline it, didn't do any of that stuff, because innately we're Creator's and, and storytellers. We don't need to be told how to do that.

That we, we've had millennia to, to ingrain what story is the biggest problem we do is you try to teach people to be editors. So it turns that part of that creative brain off. So now you ask someone to write something like, well, about what? I don't know, but I don't, I can't, what's the five paragraph structure?

What, what's the thesis? I'm like, I don. But, but I need to know. And I'm like, that's the problem. Right? They're conditioned. So most of my job is assuming that when I create something for writers, assuming they have an editor brain and how I have to fix it, how I have to unprogram their brain and I do stuff that makes them crazy, which is like cover their computer screen to write and they're like, but I don't know what I'm writing.

I go, exactly. Cause you can't delete it.

Bryan McAnulty: Well, that's comparison because. The, the student who you're talking about, they like, they're drawing this picture, writing the scribbles, but they know what they're doing. They're telling the story and yeah. I can completely see that if you start to just think about typing something, you're already editing, whereas you, if you just tell the story mm-hmm.

whatever it is, just start telling the story. Then after, that's when the editing happens. But, but too many people are actually editing as they're starting to.

Azul Terronez: Very interesting. That's exactly right. And then if, if I tell people like, well, what if my brain, I, I start thinking stuff like, I don't know. I'm not good at this.

I'm like, write that. Well, how's that gonna go in the book? I go, it's not going in the book, but it's what's keeping you from writing it. So put it there so you can see what's keeping you from your own way, outta your own way. And once you l, once you do it enough, you're like, I'm terrible. And they'll good at this.

Eventually you'll be like, okay, that's enough, and you're gonna move on. But if you just try to make something good and then put it on the page, you're never gonna to do anything. And I think that's true for people at creating course. Like they overthink every single moment. Thinking, if I get it right in my head first, then the people are gonna love, it's gonna be amazing, but it's gonna take me 17 years before I create a course or write a book.

I'm like, yeah, no. Your first thing isn't ever gonna be perfect. . So stop, don't worry about it. Just create it and then you'll create another one and you'll get better. You'll learn, but you've got to let go of this tight grip to perfectionism or belief. Yeah, and I, it's so much easier to call it editing brain because it doesn't feel like, yeah, you know, like you did something wrong.

You just, it's just two Hals your brain. They're competing with each other. That's why they never works. So you've gotta tell one, Hey, you can come work here. But later. So one of the things I do with people is I don't let them start with computer or. Words and that frustrates people, especially type A very, pat was one of like, I want you to draw me out this book.

What I don't, I, I have an outline, like, I know you have an outline. What would it look like if you drew it though? The ability to know whether or not you can see something is if you can tell me without using the words. If you can't, then I'm wondering if you even know frustrates people, but your creative brain, the editor brain, when he sees drawing going, I don't, I'm out.

I can't edit this cuz this looks like creative stuff and it d. Hey, so these are all creative skills I learned to help people unplug people's brains. When everyone else is teaching, first thing you do is get an outline. First thing you need to do is this. I'm like, that's the last thing you need to do is have an outline.

That's the worst thing you can do because outlines are actually artificial created by school teachers. to get you to do something that they want you to do. But really if an outline, if you look at like a table contents, that is not how people write books. That's just the pathway for a reader to know what they expect, what journey they expect to go on.

Like a map. It isn't the plan that got the writer there, but that's how teachers say, you know, get an outline, get em out. You know, bullet points. I'm like, Absolutely not. That's not creative in any way, shape, or form. And that frustrates people. But I said, you've been trying to write a book for how long?

They're like eight years and go, and how many have you written? They're like, zero. I'm like, do you wanna trust me or do you want to keep doing what you're doing? Okay, I trust you. All right. I'm not for everyone, but I, if you're stuck, I can help you get unstuck, but you have to shift the way you believe, the way your rain works.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, definitely. That's interesting. All right, so I wanna shift a little bit to talk about that. So you and I both live in the, the Austin area. And you mentioned to me how you enjoyed traveling, and so I, I'd like to hear a little bit about that and, and how you like to live and everything, because I think that everyone listening to this, like, yeah, we have the goal of making some kind of impact with our knowledge and everything, but apart from that, it's also creating this freedom for ourselves to live the way that we wanna live.

And so I really enjoyed traveling myself. I've been to about 30 c. . So I'm curious. Yeah. Can you talk a little bit about. .

Azul Terronez: Yeah. So we did a vision, you know, not, not a vision board, but like more like your ideal day exercise. My husband and I sat down separately and said, you know, he was working in a hospital.

I was working in a school. Like, let's, is this the way we wanna live every day of our life? And now don't get attached to the role. Cause working in a hospital, working in schools, you feel like your responsibility, like it's already something you're doing good. But I was like, is this what you want in your life?

And it's, we're both, no. , but what do we want? So we just visioned out what would an ideal day look like from the moment we woke up to the moment we went to bed and did it separately. And mine was, I didn't wake up to an alarm if I didn't want to, or when I did, I was in another country and there was cobblestone roads and I would go out and have coffee or watch the sunrise or didn't go for a walk on the beach and maybe do some journaling, meet some people for a cafe.

And I just went through the whole journey and then he did the same. We matched them up and realized, wow, there's so many intersections here. Our ideal days are, but we're not living it. And so that exercise really helped me get clear that all the things that we were pursuing all seemed right. Like, you know, you have a nice home, you have nice cars, you know, all these things.

So you can travel, take vacations. But really, I was like, what if I didn't have to take vacation from my life? What if my life and the way I lived were synonymous? So when we first took that gig in China and we traveled all over there because. That, that was one of the benefits to be able to see a, a good part of Asia while we lived there.

And after that, we had already sold everything to move there. So we had very little costs. We didn't have cars or anything like that to worry about, or mortgage, or even storage. We didn't keep storage. We just got rid of everything. So it allowed us to travel. So we left there and we went to visit a, a designer of our website at that time who lived in Portugal, like, you should come here.

And we went, we visited and we're like, this is it. So we just moved there. We just. Picked a spot and moved there and lived in Elizabeth and we're like, this is cool, like we're doing our work, but we live here. We don't have to start work till two because everyone's still asleep in America and. So we got to enjoy our life.

We did the things that were starting to appear on our list of our day. Like wow, we don't have to wake up anytime. Cuz our day doesn't start till two or three. We were in a city, we can travel from here and bounce around at different locations. We even more moved to Puerto Rico for year. Cause the dream on that vision was to like be able to hear the ocean and see it from our window.

And we did that all because our business did. It wasn't because we were living extravagantly. We're like, we'll live in a modest place, but. Be on the ocean in a country that's not too far. You know, it's part of the US as a territory, so it's got some easy access. So we just kept doing that and that freedom was what we were working for.

I wasn't trying to necessarily replace my salary. I was trying to get rep fill in the things that I was hoping to have in my life.

Bryan McAnulty: Awesome. Yeah, I totally relate to that because I always feel like my goal, first and foremost, it's not about. The money or level of success, but achieving that freedom and, and what is that?

And often people misunderstand that that can come or the, the money that we think about or, or how much money you think you need to even accomplish that. And because I, I started traveling before I even turned 21. I read the four hour work week, didn't even finish it. I was like, . That makes sense. I'm going to, something clicked with me.

I was like, I, I can do that. I'm already, my, my customers at the time weren't in the same city as me anyway, so what's the difference? And some people asked me, they said, well, Brian, what are you, what are you doing all day? If you're just in some other country, when are you gonna go work? And I had to explain to them, well, I am, I am working.

I'm just living somewhere else. It's not real. I'm not on vacation. I'm just, I'm choosing to live here. And later I'll choose to live somewhere else. And I, I really like the. , the lifestyle that comes with the European time zone as well, while you're working with people in the US because I'm not really a morning person.

Yeah. And the ability to wake up, kind of have your day, and then in the afternoon, then you start looking at emails and things like that. I really enjoy that and yeah.

Azul Terronez: Yeah, that's for sure. I mean, I, we made a decision in our company to only work with clients Tuesday through Thursday. take calls or anything unless we choose to, unless we love to do it or it's something we feel like it's important that that changed everything.

We had a friend, I feel like she was on vacation every week, you know, and she's an entrepreneur, so she travels, but she's like, she goes, I go somewhere on my own once a month, like I travel for a week. I'm like, wow, that would be, that's really cool. That'd be cool. She was like, it's your business. You can do whatever you want.

So that's when we went through a three day work week. We. . I don't start before 10. I end by five. I have a very short work day. I had to be very productive. And then in coming in, in April, we're gonna start taking every third week, the third, the fourth week of the month off. No clients, no, not even with our teams, so we can travel more.

And if you leave Thursday night and don't have to come back to the office till Tuesday, you can, and you have a whole week in between. You have 10 days. That's a, that's, you can go visit a root country and really enjoy it and not feel rushed, but also not how to feel like, okay, I got an Airbnb. Where do I get groceries?

Because that's the part of a Newman. You have to really learn those things quickly, but 10 to 12 days in a country will be great. So we started building that in our business cuz I value that more than how much more money can I make? I, I do want money. Obviously we're doing it for make money, but I, I also want the equal portions of freedom.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Cuz there's, there's many people out there who are multi multimillionaires or even billionaires who can't do that because they're valuing money over that. And for them to, to get back into that level of freedom that you now have would be very difficult, if not impossible. Whereas if you think about it, I, I would think for most people, The, the goal should be similar to what you're going after because that's the, what's the purpose of money anyway?

If not to, yeah. Create the freedom to yourself, create some kind of impact or, or something that you want to create. .

Azul Terronez: Yeah. And my ideal day is for today, it's not for some future somewhere else. That's the thing is I'm not trying to create a future. I'm trading my present moment. My present moment wants freedom and spaciousness and travel and cobblestone roads.

So much so that we were able to buy a small little house in the southern part of Portugal. Even during the pandemic with the money we were not investing in. Nice cars and all these things so we can have our ideal days. I always wanted to own a home in Europe that was close to the beach, but in a village and, you know, well it's happened because of that belief more than like, I'll work really hard so that someday I can, and two books that influenced me were Free Time by Jenny Blake, who also wrote the book, pivot and Anti Time Management by Richie Norton.

Both of them talk about if you don't build the life that you. and hope to build the business to have life you want someday, you'll never have that. And I totally agree with those premises is that you have to figure out how to, as Richie Norton calls, do time tipping. Like your, your belief about time has to shift as well if you're gonna have a lifestyle like this.

Cuz most people are like, man, if I weren't, I would be hustling if I were. I'm like, no, I don't hustle. I work hard. I'm very committed, but hustle sounds like something painful. . I like to be inspirational, work hard and do my thing, but I don't, I don't want to feel like forever I'm chasing something. I'm living my tr my best life and I hope tomorrow is just another repeat of today my best life.

Today is the best day of my life cuz it's the only one I got.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I mean, I don't want to talk about it as if I'm making it sound easy cuz it's not necessarily easy. It takes. . But yeah, you're right. If you're, if you're always thinking about this thing in the future that you're chasing, you'll always be chasing it versus making some kind of conscious effort to work towards it.

Now, that's the difference of how you actually make it happen versus it always being the dream. .

Azul Terronez: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. And and that's, and I think that's what happens when people chase zeros, you know, commas. I said, be careful. You'll get there and be as miserable, or even more so than you thought because you thought the number of commas after your spreadsheet would make you happy and it doesn't.

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, definitely. All right, awesome. Well, I've got one more question for you before we get going. If you could ask our audience anything. Something you're curious about, something you kind of want them to think about. What would that be?

Azul Terronez: How many ideal days are you willing to give up Interesting. As you wait to start your thing?

Bryan McAnulty: Yeah, that's a great, that's what you're doing. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. All right. Awesome. Well, thanks so much, Raul. Before we get going, where else can people find you? .

Azul Terronez: Yeah, they can always go to authors who lead.com or listen to authors who lead the podcast because that's usually where people find me and they wanna learn about writing books cuz I have guests and I love to hear from like big writers, New York Times bestselling writers, well as brand new writers, teenagers, because I want them to dig, dispel the myths so they can listen to the podcast authors you lead as well.

Great places and of course connect with me on social. I'm always happy to check in. I run that myself and I love to talk to people about what they are discovering about their writing. All right. Cool.

Bryan McAnulty: Thanks Azul. Thanks so much for coming on the show.

Azul Terronez: Thank you so much.

Bryan McAnulty: If you enjoyed this interview and won the chance to ask questions to our guests live, tune in on Tuesdays when new episodes premiere on the Heights Platform Facebook page.

To learn more about the show and get notified when new episodes release, check out The Creator's Adventure dot com. Until then, keep learning and I'll see you in the next episode.

View All Episodes of The Creator's Adventure

Subscribe and be the first to know about new episodes

Spotify Apple Podcasts YouTube Facebook



Spotify Apple Podcasts YouTube Facebook

About the Host

Bryan McAnulty is the founder of Heights Platform: all-in-one online course creation software that allows creators to monetize their knowledge.

His entrepreneurial journey began in 2009, when he founded Velora, a digital product design studio, developing products and websites used by millions worldwide. Stemming from an early obsession with Legos and graphic design programs, Bryan is a designer, developer, musician, and truly a creator at heart. With a passion for discovery, Bryan has traveled to more than 30 countries and 100+ cities meeting creators along the way.

As the founder of Heights Platform, Bryan is in constant contact with creators from all over the world and has learned to recognize their unique needs and goals.

Creating a business from scratch as a solopreneur is not an easy task, and it can feel quite lonely without appropriate support and mentorship.

The show The Creator’s Adventure was born to address this need: to build an online community of creative minds and assist new entrepreneurs with strategies to create a successful online business from their passions.

View All Episodes of The Creator's Adventure