Learn How Getting Published Was Part of a Bigger Plan to Introduce Staff Training on Denimhunters
Happy New Year, dear reader! I hope you’ve made it safely into 2017.
2016 was a terrible year for the world in so many ways. Terror, politics, dead celebrities, the climate. It’s all going down the drain.
For me personally, 2016 was a fantastic year. It was the year that my wife and I became homeowners. It was a year that gave me a handful of new amazing friends. I enjoyed no less than two vacations in the US (during one of which Amy Leverton made this ‘denim dudes’ portrait of me). And it was the year that I became a published author with Blue Blooded.
In the spirit of the new year, I wanted to look back at my professional highlights of 2016 and tell you why I wrote a book. I’ll also give you a preview of the project I’ll be devoting my attention to in 2017: online staff training.
Why I Wrote A Book
Writing a book is a goal for many; I’d been dreaming about it ever since I started blogging in 2011.
Studies suggest that 82% of adults dream about writing a book. But only 3% of those that start writing one actually finish it. That’s because it takes a lot of commitment and time.
In my case, it took 15 months from idea to publication. And a lot of hard work!
A Gap In the Market
The seeds for Blue Blooded were sown in February 2015. I remember it quite vividly. I was driving to the Italian Alps with my family to go on our annual skiing holiday. My mother-in-law had gifted me Bernhard Roetzel’s book, Gentleman, which covers everything you need to know about gentlemen’s attire. That book became the spark that lit my fire.
When I got back from Italy, I spent the following months researching what was already out there to identify a gap in the market.
Obviously, I didn’t want to write just any book. I discovered that no book covered all aspects of denim. Some focused on history, others on style. Others yet portrayed brands and companies. I wanted a book that had it all; including how denim and jeans are made, and why enthusiasts care so much about it.
By the time I was ready to start pitching my idea, in August 2015, the renowned Berlin-based publisher, Gestalten, approached me and asked if I would write a book about denim with them. It seemed like destiny.
I spent the following months working on an outline and researching the topic even further. By December 2015, I had turned my apartment into a book writing camp. At the beginning of March 2016, I handed in my commissioned 150,000 characters (equalling +75 pages).
Blue Blooded was published in May 2016; a book that gives a complete overview of denim, written for novices, enthusiasts and experts.
You Can’t Say “Authority” Without Saying “Author”
Apart from the drive to create a book that wasn’t already there, I knew being a published author would build my authority. I wanted people in the business to recognise me as more than a blogger.
One of the reasons having your writing published in print (still) gets more credit than posting it on a blog is that it’s harder. A lot harder. It takes so much more work to get a book published than it does to start a blog. No offence to bloggers; it’s just a fact, and I now know it from experience.
Still, it’s totally worth it! People have started looking at me differently. “Oh, you published a book?!” is a common reaction, and to those that didn’t know me beforehand, I’ve learned that a book is the best business card one can have.
But my plan was never to launch a career as an author in the traditional sense of the definition. Writing a book was a stepping stone for me to become an educator.
What Am I Selling?
From the very beginning, getting published was part of a bigger plan for me; a plan to find a way to make a living from Denimhunters. That meant I had to reevaluate what I’m selling.
Indirectly, I’ve been making a living from Denimhunters ever since I got out of school in 2014. It was based on what I’d done with Denimhunters that I launched my career as a freelance consultant.
Still, I wanted to find a way to make a living off of the content I’m posting. I wanted to reach and impact a wider audience. And I wanted to find a way where I could sell my hours more than once.
In the past, I saw Denimhunters as a media business, and I also tried turning it into a clothing retailer. But writing Blue Blooded made me rediscover the reason I started Denimhunters in the first place; to learn and teach about denim.
I realised that it’s not ad space or physical products I should be selling; it’s knowledge.
One tried and tested way to sell knowledge is to write a book. So that’s what I did first. The long-term goal was to sell my knowledge online, and that requires a slightly different packaging known as eLearning—sometimes also referred to as online education or online training.
While the self-paced kind of eLearning is expected to decline over the coming years, the global market for corporate eLearning—in other words: online staff training—is predicted to grow by 11% between 2016-2020, according to Technavio. I plan to be part of that growth with the Denimhunters Academy.
A Preview of the Denimhunters Academy
The Denimhunters Academy is an online staff training programme that helps people who sell denim and jeans become more successful. (Technically, it’s a subscription-based membership platform that will be hosted right here on denimhunters.com in a familiar environment.)
The on-demand online programme teaches you how to create meaningful and memorable experiences for your customers through product knowledge and storytelling. It offers valuable insights into the customer journey. It extensively deepens members’ knowledge of denim and jeans. And it teaches the art of storytelling, which helps you apply your knowledge and skills in on-the-job situations.
By using what you’ll learn in the Denimhunters Academy, you can expect to see changes in your customers’ behaviour; improved customer retention and customer loyalty, better conversion, more referrals, fewer returns and customer complaints, and more motivated staff. That all leads to more sales.
To make learning as convenient as possible, the educational material is presented in bite-sized videos. Available whenever and from wherever you want. The videos will be supported by text and visual aids whenever relevant. The material will be taught by yours truly and industry experts.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what you’ll get from the Denimhunters Academy.
Full membership to the Denimhunters Academy includes instant access to online courses that give you the fundamental knowledge and processes you need to become successful at selling denim and jeans.
The Academy launches with an on-demand online course that teaches denim and product knowledge, and how to use it when you’re selling jeans. The course will:
- equip you with knowledge about product details, production, history and customer guidance to make you a better jeans salesperson, and
- give you tools to use this knowledge in sales situations.
By taking the course, you’ll become more secure and confident with customers, which will make you appear more trustworthy and professional.
In addition to online courses, full membership of the Denimhunters Academy also includes access to high-impact member resources and individual lessons. The member resources will be updated on an ongoing basis.
Below is an outline of what to expect:
Case studies go behind the scenes of the success and failures of industry influencers.
Masterclasses discuss various topics. Each masterclass has a co-host who’s an expert on the subject.
The free weekly Denimhunters podcast will be hosted within the Academy.
Ready to Start Learning? Sign Up Below!
Because the Denimhunters Academy is a membership platform, you need an account to log into the member area where the content will be. But don’t worry, anyone can register for a free account, which gives you a taste of the content.
The platform is slated to be released in February with three lessons of the first course available. The full course is planned to launch later in the spring.
Sign up to the FREE Denimhunters newsletter below and I promise you’ll be the first to know when I’ve got news about the Denimhunters Academy.