Mahrukh Imtiaz

Dennis Geelen

S2-EP015: The Solopreneur’s Guide to Writing Your First Book: From Full-Time Job to Authorship. Part – 1

 “ I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed writing until I sat down and did it. And even some days, you don’t feel like it. But once you establish that habit and start to get into that groove, you know, we’ve all heard of the runner’s high, where once you run enough, your body wants to do it.” – DENNIS GEELEN

[S2-EP015] – In this episode, Dennis and I discuss how he discovered his passion for writing after being laid off from a corporate job for 20 years. We discuss how he became a best-selling author, and the challenges of writing and publishing a book.

Highlights from this episode: 

[3:11] What got you started on this solopreneur journey?

[8:46] When did you think it was the right time to write your first book?

[11:50] The first two books you wrote were unsuccessful. What did you learn from it? What was that process?

[13:39] Why did you choose to write a book instead of creating just blogs? What was your intention behind it?

[17:46] What would you say are the top marketing tips that you’ve got from all the authors you mentioned?

[26:24] Would you say there are some new fears that have come up for you now, now that you’re more of a well-known author of two books? Is there something else that comes up?

[30:52] What’s one piece of advice you would give Dennis that was starting his journey four years ago?

Connect with DENNIS GEELEN: 




A little bit about the Dennis:

Dennis spent over 20 years in various corporate leadership roles in several industries.

Until, at the age of 43, he was laid off for the first time in his life. Disgruntled and determined, he decided to bet on himself and become a solopreneur. Now, he has a best-selling book ZERO IN FORMULA, published his 2nd book, released an online course, and built a network both on LinkedIn and Twitter with 11,000 followers.

Resources mentioned:
The Wealthy Barber


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Mahrukh Imtiaz: Our guest today is the author of the best-selling book, Zero In Formula and has now published his second book, The Accidental Solopreneur. He has 11,000 plus followers on Twitter and LinkedIn combined platforms where he’s active daily, while he manages his company, his online courses, and his clients. And he just told me right before we started recording that he’s just launched a new product. Wow, talk about being busy. Welcome to the show, Dennis

Dennis Geelen: Hey, thanks so much for having me. Yep, busy times, but always fun.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: Yeah, it is. So the way I always start off is to tell us about your journey. What got you started on this solopreneur journey? And I said the accidental solopreneur journey?

Dennis Geelen: Yeah, mine, I really stressed the accidental part. Because for the first 40 some odd years of my life, I didn’t think I had an entrepreneurial bone in my body. I was the typical, risk-averse person, right? It was the follow the script, get a job, you know, get your education, get a job, buy a house, put 10% away, and then eventually you’ll retire at the age of 65. 

And that’s when you get to enjoy your life. Right? That’s the script. Absolutely. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with it. But it does. It works great for some people, but it limits others. And for me, it was working great. For the first 40 or so years of my life. Great. I got a good education. I got a good job. 

I worked my way up in companies. And it wasn’t until maybe my late 30s where I started to get this itch. I’d like to call it of boy is that it? Is there more I feel like now I’ve kind of you know, I didn’t I never made it to CEO status of a company but I made it to some fairly good senior leadership roles. learned a ton.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: And well they call it midlife crisis. Yeah, I guess Yeah.

Dennis Geelen: Yep. But I never did anything about it. I just kind of had this itch of what if what if I was to bet on myself what I was, what if I was to try my own thing. And like so many people, I was just at the outside looking in. 

And then at the age of 43, for the first time ever in my life. I was laid off and that came out of left field. And it threw me for a loop. My life was upside down. Suddenly I’d like what this was the safe script. This is what I’m sorry, I’m supposed to be doing it this way because it’s safe. 

And here I am now laid off. What happened? And my initial reaction was actually well, I’ll just jump right back in, I’ll fall I’ll find another corporate job. And then that itch was kind of scratching again. Hey, Dennis, remember, you’ve been thinking about what if? 

What would it be like to to bet on yourself? But I still was like, No, that’s not me. It wasn’t until my wife really said, you know, Dennis, this is the perfect time. You’re not a 20 year old anymore that has nothing to offer or doesn’t have all those skills and experience behind you yet. 

You’re 43 You You’ve got great experience. It’s not like we’re in a position where we’re going to be broke. You know, I had a severance package. We had fun, doing good with our savings. My wife had a good job. And I was like, boy, maybe this is the right time. 

Maybe this is a sign I need to bet on myself. So I did, I decided I’m going to start my own consulting company. So green, so wet behind the ears. So naive, I had no idea what I was doing. But I had this I’m going to scratch this itch. I’m going to start.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: So you didn’t have it all figured out? Geez, no, no

Dennis Geelen: Okay, but here’s the real thing I thought I did. I thought, Oh, I’ve got 20 plus years of corporate experience, no problem. I’ll just announce to the world that I’m a consultant. Now. I’ll create a logo and a landing page, you have a network you have clients will be lined up around the corner, right? Yeah. 

That’s not what happened at all. But luckily, my wife and I both agreed, let’s give it a full year, and then you’ll know you’re really a bit on yourself. And if it doesn’t work, you’ll have no regrets. You’ll never be sitting back at the age of 65. Going, what if I had have, right? And if it works, awesome. Now you’ve bet on yourself, and it worked. 

And you’ll be living at your passion. So that’s kind of what happened had to learn a ton about branding, marketing, sales, how to build a business. Luckily, I love to learn and love to apply that stuff. So that first year as as much of a roller coaster ride as it was trying to figure it all out. I loved the process. I love the journey. So that’s now in four years in. Yeah.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: Now that’s quite a journey. And I want to focus on a few things, you actually said there. First, you started getting that itch. While you were pretty happy with your job and where you were in life. 

So I think that’s so important, because a lot of people think of solopreneurship or even like content creation journeys that start because a solopreneur ship, they think, oh, things must be really wrong in my life to want something more. And I think it’s so important to recognize that sometimes things are very good. 

They’re status quo, they’re safe. But there’s always that itch. Or it could be that itch where you would want more. So why to focus on that. I love that you mentioned that you not that the fact that you did get laid off but that you mentioned that because that’s the economy we are in right now. Right. 

There’s we saw that happen at Mehta, we saw it happen in Twitter. And I think it’s a great way to say hey, this is a great opportunity for everyone that had the itch to kind of bet on yourselves, and also loved that you had support and that practicality behind it was huge. 

That exactly like I love that you had a time line like, hey, let’s focus on this for a year, you liked the idea of learning, you didn’t take things for granted. And it was really funny that way you said you know, you thought because you have all those experiences, everything will be lined up, I have something similar a similar story where literally, I’m starting my creation journey and thinking, 

Oh, I’m gonna get so many hate comments, and I wouldn’t know what to do with them. And turned out I didn’t get any comments. So the problem wasn’t exactly. It was like, Oh, I never thought about what if I don’t get any? Right? 

So it’s just one of those things that so important to mention. Now, you talked all about your journey of going all in for the first year. When did you think it was the right time to write your first book?

Dennis Geelen: Yeah, so I’ve actually written four books. The first. Yeah, the first two, I don’t talk about a whole lot because they’re not very good. And I wrote those two, just to see what was it like, and that was really early on in my solopreneur journey, because one of the things I was seeing was, oh, just have a book behind your name that’s gonna give you more credibility. 

And I thought, Okay, well, I’ll try that. And I wrote two short books. I did the entire thing myself, including the graphics and the editing and the marketing. And it showed, hey, they were not very good. But I learned a ton.

And then it was when the pandemic hit in March 2020. Everything I figured this thing out now, my consulting business was rolling ahead, and my niche had my offer. I had clients and then the pandemic comes along, and boom, everything gets put on hold. So this is where again, discussion with my wife.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: She sounds like an awesome person, by the way, 

Dennis Geelen: Amazing wife. Cindy, thank you so much for everything you’ve done. But originally it was Dennis what was me? I just finally got this all figured out. Now the pandemic comes along. What was me there goes my consulting business. 

She’s like what If you’ve got time on your hands again, and you just made a whole bunch of money consulting, you’re kind of back where you were when you decided to bet on yourself. So now, how do you want to bet on yourself? 

What else can you do? You’ve been giving another blessing. And I’m like, Well, I wrote those two books. They were terrible. But I learned a ton. I’d like to write a really good book, she’s like, 

Well, now’s your chance, when also, you’re going to have all this time. And again, this financial cushion to be able to sit down and really concentrate on writing a good book. So that’s when I wrote the zero in Formula. I’d figured out zero in and what I do with my customers, my clients, 

I got all kinds of stories to tell all kinds of data to share all kinds of people I can interview, I talked to all kinds of best selling authors, some really big name authors that took the time to share their their advice with me. 

And I put all that into the zero in formula. And it launched in September of 2020. So just as we’re starting to come out of the pandemic, people are allowed to now start to meet in person again. Wow, lucky timing. 

Yeah, the book was a huge hit, hit number one best seller in four countries on Amazon, it got translated into Spanish, it opened me up to all kinds of new consulting opportunities. So again, if it wasn’t for my wife, saying, Dennis, hello, you’ve got this time and this opportunity go for it, I probably wouldn’t have written zero in Formula.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: I also love how you’ve constantly taken anything that has hit you in a negative way and kind of spun it around in a positive like, okay, what can I do with this? How can I make the most of it? And what I really want to focus on, you said, a lot of you wrote two books that sucked. And I love that you’re so honest and secure, but saying that, and you learned a ton. Could you break that down? What did you learn? What was that process? Like for you?

Dennis Geelen: Oh, so much, like, in the beginning, it was like, how do you even publish a book? Yeah. And then so tons ton of research there. And yeah, there’s three options. Really, there’s the traditional publisher route, where you write the manuscript, you have to shop it around, and hopefully one of them picks it up, and they pay you in advance. 

And, but good luck getting a book deal, right? Right, then there’s the complete self publish route. And boy, you can do this, Amazon has made it so easy, there’s a whole back end, it’s just like creating a LinkedIn profile, you just create a profile, you upload your picture and your bio, and you upload all your book files, and they take care of all the printing and distribution.

 And wow, that’s a lot easier than I thought. And then there’s a hybrid model where you go with a company that helps you do that you pay them a fixed fee. So that was all stuff I had hadn’t known before. What was it like to write a book? How do you structure a book? How do you create a writing habit? 

How do you draw the reader in? How do you make sure they want to keep reading? How do you make sure that the book doesn’t lag when they get to, you know, chapter four or five that you know, it captures all that kind of stuff? I was I was learning all the way through.

And then I also learned, I need to have a good professional editor. I learned that from my Okay, yeah, not not in the first two, I learned okay. Yeah, I learned that that was lacking. And I should probably have a professional do the book graphics and the book formatting. 

Yes, there’s tools out there, you can do it yourself. That’s just not my strength. Why not go to a professional and when I applied those learnings to the zero end formula, holy smokes, that that was a huge difference. And then all kinds of marketing strategies and tactics I’ve learned about how to get a good book into people’s hands.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: Right. Right. Exactly. And going back to you said, like developing a writing habit and you know, writing the book, Why did you choose to write a book instead of like, let’s say creating just blogs? Like, what was your intention behind? Okay, I’m gonna write a book, even if it’s the worst in the world. Did you enjoy writing always?

Dennis Geelen: I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed writing until I sat down and did it. And even some days, you don’t feel like it. But once you establish more that habit, and you start to get in that groove, that’s, you know, we’ve all heard of the runner’s high, where once you run enough, your body wants to do it. 

Well, I found the same thing. There’s almost like this writer’s high where once you get in a groove once you’re like a couple chapters into that manuscript, man, it’s that’s fun and creativity is coming. So I loved that part of it. As for why a book though, why not blogs, why not just a newsletter? 

It was I wanted to have something behind my name. That gives me some cachet, and some credibility where people can go, Oh, you’re the author of? And yes, you can have that by having your own newsletter. Yes, you can have that, you know, by having a blog, but there just seems to be that different level of cachet or credibility with having a good book behind your name. 

So I thought, well, if I’m gonna sit down and invest a bunch of time in writing, I’m going to do it in a book format, and then you know, whether that’s right or wrong, that’s that was the decision I made. So..

Mahrukh Imtiaz:  I love that and how long did it take you for the whole process for your first book, you know, because you were learning along the way writing, editing.

Dennis Geelen: So the zero in Formula, I would consider my first real book, one was March to September of 2020. So I think that’s six, seven months, maybe. And then when I did the accidental solopreneur, I was actually able to shrink that down a little bit from everything I learned, 

I think it was maybe four and a half, five months from start to finish of that one. And a completely different book, that one’s a fictional parable. So I still had tons to learn there about character development, and plot and write and all that kind of stuff. But because I learned so much from the previous books, I was still able to get that timeline down quite a bit.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: Right? And what would you say in terms of like, like, the learning process that you said, like, you know, I know you did broke down about like, the marketing, the editing and all of that, but yeah, what in particular, were you like, Oh, my God, this was a shocking revealing for me when I was writing my first book, what was there something like that that happened, where you were like, Oh, I didn’t expect this to happen.

Dennis Geelen: The marketing piece, I think, was huge. Because writing a book is a massive undertaking and project on its own, right, yeah, I’m gonna sit down and write up 40 50,000 word manuscript. That’s, that sounds like a big undertaking, right. So once I figured out how to put that down into smaller chunks, and have some daily or weekly goals, okay, that was a project I was working on. But marketing a good book is a completely separate project. 

And it needs to happen in parallel, you don’t know right, and then Edit and then publish a book and then start marketing it, it’s too late. At that point, you want to build awareness, build momentum, so that when the book comes out, you’ve already got a bunch of things lined up so that people are gonna start hearing about and buying your book right away. 

When I started talking to some different best selling authors about writing the book, a lot of them kept mentioning the marketing part. I’m like, Yeah, I’ll worry about that later. And they’re like, No, you need to worry about that. Now, like the marketing of your book starts six months before it comes out. 

So it wasn’t until I started picking their brain. And I talked to some pretty big selling authors like David Chilton, the author of The Wealthy Barber has sold 8.5 million copies of his book, I had several phone calls with him, he was very gracious and just gave me all kinds of marketing tips. Shep Hyken, multiple, Best Selling Author, Charles H. Green, same thing, David Burkus, all these people were willing to have these calls with me. 

And they kept stressing the marketing side. And the funny thing is, each of those best selling authors all went the traditional publishing route. And yet every single one of them said, the marketing is still up to you, though, right? Even if you get a contract with Penguin publishing or Random House, sure, they’re going to print and distribute and get your book in the stores. 

That doesn’t mean people know about your book, you still need to get the word out there. And here’s a bunch of things you should be doing to get it out there. And that that blew my mind.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: I love then what would you say were the 123 things that were the top marketing tips that you got from all these authors?

Dennis Geelen: Yeah, the number one was influencers. So a bunch of them stressed this and said, imagine who would be the top 100 people in the world, where if they read your book, and posted about it on social media, that would be amazing. 

So CEOs of companies that you know are in your space, other influential authors, or podcasters, or people with newsletters, who write stuff around the same topic as your book. People who have huge social media followings that talk about the same thing that your your books about, make a list of those people. 

And then they said, even if they have no idea who Dennis Gillen is, just start following them, start commenting on their stuff, whether that’s on Twitter or on LinkedIn or whatever, eventually, they’re going to get to know who you are, because everybody loves it when there’s engagement on their social media posts, right? Absolutely, yes. 

And if they’re active, they’re going to take note, boy, this Dennis guy has been showing up week after week, commenting on my stuff. So after you’ve done that for a while, then reach out again, with no intentions, just, Hey, by the way, love your content. If you’re not already connected with them, send them a connection request, you know, a certain percentage of them are going to accept and right back, not everybody. 

But if you started with 100, and now you’re down to 50 of them, have accepted your connection requests or started a conversation with you. Great, now keep going, keep commenting, keep it because your books coming out in six months, it might take you several months to build this relationship, right? 

And then maybe around the four or five month mark, you say, Hey, by the way, I’m actually writing a book on this topic, I’d love to have, you know, you provide a quote that goes on the back cover. And again, not all of them are going to say yes, but even if it’s a percentage, maybe 1520 of them out of that initial 100. 

Say, sure. Well, now you’ve got testimonials on the back of your book, or on the inside cover from 15 to 20 influential people that’s given your book, tons of credibility already. And then when the book comes out, send them a signed copy. If you’ve built this relationship Ship, if they’re big on social media, chances are when they’re when your book arrives in the mail, they’re going to take a picture of them with it and say, hey, just received Dennis Gilens, zero in Formula. 

And look, here’s my quote, in the inside cover, you should buy this book, you know if those 20 people, even if eight of them do that, but now you’ve got eight influential people hosting about your book online that goes way further than me, Dennis Gillan going on saying, hey, please buy my book. Right? Right. So that was huge. I got some really big name, people, I got some really influential people, they were posting about my book, every time I post came out, sales would shoot up, every time I landed on their podcast, or showed up in their newsletter, sales Shut up. So that was a huge marketing strategy for me, probably the one that paid off

Mahrukh Imtiaz: Yeah. And what I love about that is how organic it is, you know, you didn’t talk about paid ads, or you didn’t talk about anything like that it was more about you building genuine relationships with these people, genuinely providing them value, as you said, commenting, that’s providing them value, and then just doing the best you can and making the ask without expecting anything in return. 

That’s what I loved about it. And we talked a lot about the marketing of the book, and you writing the few books, I want to dig deeper into the fear aspect of it. A lot of people when they’re starting something, there’s so many doubts, a lot of impostor feelings, lots of inner critic, what was that like for you what was coming up for you from a fear sense, when you were writing your first book, or even your let’s say, your first real book versus your first book,

Dennis Geelen: I’d say in the very beginning, there’s that excitement, oh, I’ve got this great idea for a book, all you’re thinking about is the goal, you’re thinking about the daily goals, and you get into that momentum, probably maybe a third or halfway through the manuscript, that’s when it starts to creep in, you have a day where maybe you’re not feeling the creativity as much, it’s not flowing as much. 

And then that starts to creep into some doubts. Is this book even any good? Is anybody going to want to write it? Or read it? Why would somebody want a book from me, you know, those types of doubts start to creep into your mind. And that can be really terrifying. 

And that could be, you know, it could, it could stop you cold, if you let it for me, I just had to keep reminding myself, you know what, I didn’t know any of this stuff. Four years ago, I’m writing for four years ago, Dennis, and he can learn from me. So how many other people are in that same boat that could really benefit from this book, I’ve talked to all kinds of people who are 234 years ahead of me, and to blown my mind that, boy, they are in the same spot I was a few years ago. 

And look where they are now and look at the information and the wisdom I just gained from them. I’m helping other people. By putting this book out. I had to keep that mindset in there. Yeah, I’m not the smartest. Yeah, I don’t have the most experienced. But I have got a story to tell. I’ve got some wisdom to share. And if it doesn’t resonate with everybody, oh, well, I get all kinds of people reaching out after my book is published going, Wow, I really love chapter two, or what you said here blew my mind. Or this really spoke to me. And it’s like, Yes, I’m so glad I, I hit publish and didn’t allow that fear to keep that book away out of people’s hands. So

Mahrukh Imtiaz: I love that. And I think it’s a again, it goes back to knowing who you’re writing for. For me, it’s the same process. Whenever I’m creating content, I’m like, well, even if like nobody gains anything from it, I’m writing for my earlier self. 

You know, this is for me, if someone who’s in the same boat as me, they’ll gain something out of it. Because I wish I knew that four years ago. So we talked about some fears now. 

And we’ve talked about the book and you said at the beginning of the conversation that, you know, you kind of published it thinking okay, you know, it will give you some extra credibility as an author versus just a blog or newsletter. So just want to talk to you about bit about that. What were some of the benefits that you gained from writing that book,

Dennis Geelen: Massive. I can trace actually wrote about this on both Twitter and LinkedIn today. I think I can trace the majority of my success as a solopreneur. Back to the publishing of the zero in Formula. 

That’s what really launched things into the next level. For me, it got me on, I think I’m up over 50 podcasts. I’ve now been a guest. Congrats. Yeah, I mean, never thought of that. I just thought, Oh, well, I’ll have a book I can hand out when I’m doing an engagement or whatever, right? 

It’s open so many doors. People around the world have read the book, or heard me on podcasts and then reached out I’ve had all kinds of consulting engagements because of the book that never would have happened because nobody knew who I was before that right or they hadn’t read the book, or they hadn’t heard me on a podcast. I’ve had speaking engagements, 

I’ve done workshops, spoken at major conferences, all because of the book. And if I hadn’t done that, it wouldn’t have given me that credibility. It wouldn’t have given me that exposure. Maybe if I did something else I would have gotten similar results but I know that the book did that for me.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: And you know what’s coming up for me and as you say, all of that is you’re talking about all the credibility you got from the book but was the marketing piece for zero in Formula different from your first book is Why you had a lot more opportunities for zero in Formula?

Dennis Geelen:  I think it was a combination of things. One, it’s a much better written book.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: First of all, because of the all the experience you got from the first test

Dennis Geelen: And I had professional editors and I went with professional graphics. Correct. You had mentioned that that was huge. Yeah, it’s still has to be a good book, maybe people do judge a book by its cover. So it still has to look like a good book. And then it was well written. 

So that was part A Part B was definitely the marketing. I had no idea what I was doing with the first two books, I didn’t tell anybody. I was writing a book, I didn’t share my journey. And just all of a sudden published a book one day and tada started putting some posts out, Hey, here’s a book, please buy it. 

Well, that’s not a marketing strategy, right? Yes, yes, some people bought the book, I’ve apologized to them. But I really had a whole marketing plan and strategy for the zero in Formula and the accidental solopreneur, which has gotten those books out so much faster. 

It’s created a snowball effect where people are now buying the book. And then people who I’d never even heard of are posting about my book and then recommending it to other people. And then that grows, but you have to get that ball rolling. So the marketing that I put into those books, has really paid off and gotten it out there way faster.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: With that, like that success and that marketing. Would you say there are some new fears that have come up for you now, now that you’re more of a well known author of two books. Is there something else that comes up?

Dennis Geelen: Yeah, I think imposter syndrome is always there. Now, boy, people see me as a credible expert, right? Am I an expert enough? Right. I’ve had some major companies reach out to ask me to do some consulting for them. 

Before that, I’d be working with much smaller companies more local to my area. I’ve had companies reach out from like Norway, and Ireland and the UK, multinational companies, and it’s the VP of innovation reaching out to me, and I’m thinking, Oh, my goodness, am I equipped to work with the can I actually help this company? So it’s, it’s opened a lot of doors. But as you mentioned, yes. It’s opened up some new fears and some new opportunities for imposter syndrome as well.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: Yeah. And that’s the thing with impostor syndrome, I feel like I think Justin Welsh had a LinkedIn post about it last week. It’s like everyone feels it. You know, nobody really knows what’s kind of going on. 

Everyone’s kind of winging it. So might as well be on the playing field winging it as well. And speaking of just like your journey, you know, and everything that’s come up with it, I bet there’s been a lot of people that have said, 

Oh, Dennis just got lucky. You know, and I believe there’s always some luck involved, but based on a lot of hard work that opens up the opportunities. So my question is, what’s something that you got lucky with that, not everyone.

Dennis Geelen: Well, yeah, I think anytime you see somebody being successful, it is a combination of persistence, consistency, hard work, timing, and luck. Like all those things kind of have to go together. For me, I was lucky to be able to have that time. 

And the financial means to be able to sit down and write and publish and market the zero in Formula, I got lucky. And then the timing of Boy, that book coming out, just as the world was starting to open back up again, pure luck, right, people were now looking to ramp back up budgets were now starting to get spent and people were now looking to take on more learning and consulting, pure quince, coincidental timing and luck that that that happened, 

I’ve been lucky that certain influential people have taken the time to mentor me or coach me. I mean, some have been paid coaching. But I’ve been lucky that some of them have been really smart, helpful, people, and I’m so grateful that they took an interest in me, and not just here, just do X Y, Zed, it was let’s really understand what’s going on with you, Dennis, and your business and your goals. 

And let’s chat about this and figure this out for you. I never would have gotten where I am without a lot of that. And then obviously a ton of hard work. So

Mahrukh Imtiaz: Absolutely. No, thank you for saying that. Because I agree like mentors and coaches are so important. I can personally speak from my experience. It’s the same thing where some of them unpaid, some of them paid. And it’s just really skyrocketed a lot of things for me as well, where you just learn so much faster, because there’s someone there to support you always. 

So just like speaking about, again, like we spoke about the book today, we spoke about our marketing, and I really liked how you broke it down. And you talked about that you were willing to, you know, be a beginner with even being an author at first and we’re okay if something suck just because you know, because you knew you would learn a lot more in the process. 

And I love that mindset. I liked how you brought up marketing. I liked how you broke down exactly what helped you with zrn formula and how that really skyrocketed your business. And so before we actually go into our final question, Where can our listeners find you online?

Dennis Geelen: Yeah, so my website is just There you can see my books. You can see my courses you can see, you know a bit about me and my background and my story. I’m very active on LinkedIn. 

That’s probably the social media platform. I’m most active on almost 12,000 followers on there now started to get lot more active on Twitter lately as well. I’m getting close to 2000 there but just started to just started really investing in Twitter. 

But I would say those are the three places where if you want to connect with me or see more about me, I love talking to people. I love hearing their story. I love connecting with them. So I don’t want anybody to feel shy or intimidated about sending me a connection request. Because like I said, I’ve been extremely blessed to have some people say yes to that connection requests for me. So

Mahrukh Imtiaz: I love that. Yeah. So please do go follow. Dennis, as you said, like I found him on LinkedIn. I love his posts there. And the fact that he literally wrote a book, The Accidental solopreneur is so helpful. So here’s my final question for you, Dennis. Okay, four years ago, as you were starting that that dentists what advice? What’s one piece of advice you would give that Dennis that was starting his journey four years ago?

Dennis Geelen: Don’t overthink things have a bias towards action? My initial approach to things was, I have to read more books about that, I have to watch more YouTube videos about that I have to take more courses on that. 

And I just kept absorbing until I felt okay, now I’m comfortable enough to try this completely wrong approach. read one book, watch one video, you’re gonna learn more by trying right? I learned more by writing those first couple of books than I would have by, you know, having a bunch of coaching calls or watching a bunch of videos about it just start doing. 

I’ve learned so much about how to write on LinkedIn, or how to write on Twitter by doing it. I’ve learned so much about how to create online courses by doing it. Yes, I do. Try and learn from others, but apply and learn test, test, test test test. That’s been huge for accelerating my growth.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: I love that. I love that. It’s just having that bias towards action. It’s key for me too. It’s like I always keep telling people done is much better than perfect. Yeah. So thank you, again, Dennis, for all your time for being so authentic for being so open and honest about your journey and wishing you all the luck. 

And for everyone listening today. See you next time. You got this beautiful. All right, sorry, the claps just from a VA. So she knows that this is done. And that’s thing. So now just as I said the rapid fires, okay. All right. So again, 60 to 90 seconds. 

All right, we have Dennis here, and we’re gonna go through a rapid fire with him as he is an author of two books, and one of them is a best seller second, almost getting there. So first question, what advice, one piece of advice you would have for creators writing their first book.

Dennis Geelen: Just get that first version of the manuscript done, just get that first draft done. I found myself early on really wanting to go back and edit while I’m writing. It just slows you down. Get it done. Get it out.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: Sounds good. And what’s one thing you wish you had known when you started writing your first book?

Dennis Geelen: Tough days, we’re going to come and there’s gonna be days you don’t feel like writing? Do it anyway. That’s good.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: What is the one common myth about being an author that you want to debunk?

Dennis Geelen: It’s not as hard as you think. Just break it down into small chunks, have some daily goals and the momentum builds pretty quick.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: What are 123 Mistakes You wish you had avoided as a first time author?

Dennis Geelen: Oh, I wish I hadn’t done the graphics myself on the first book. And I wish I had have paid a professional editor for the first couple of books.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: What are the best resources that have helped you along the way on your journey as an author?

Dennis Geelen: Definitely the professional editors I’ve worked with. So with a zero in formula that was Sandra Wendell, she was more like a book coach. And then with the accidental solopreneur. That was Abner Landis, and he taught me so much about writing fiction and building the momentum and the characters and the plot and just soaked it all up. So much fun.

Mahrukh Imtiaz: Love that big shout out to both of them. I’ll have their names in the show notes as well. Perfect. What is something people spent too much time on that they should skip entirely when writing a book, figuring out

Dennis Geelen: The title, the subtitle and the chapter titles? Just that’ll come to you at the end. Once the books done, it’ll be obvious, but don’t worry about that in the beginning.

Mahrukh Imtiaz:  Perfect. Awesome. Those were all my questions. Thanks so much, Dennis. Okay, thank you. And then that’s that the episode will most probably be published in three weeks from now and I’ll send you an email with all like the social media links, all the stuff that you need. I usually ask you like, I usually have a show notes page. So I’ll ask you to just review it in case there’s something that you would want added to it any product stuff links, I’m happy to add and that’s about it. If you have any questions.

Dennis Geelen: No, that was a ton of fun. Thanks again for having me.

Mahrukh Imtiaz:  Yeah, thank you so much, Dennis..

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