How to find the best partners and succeed as a magazine ? – Lynda Foresythe
David Laroche: Hello, Achievers! Today I am in San Diego, precisely in La Jolla, with a new, awesome guest. She is Linda Forsythe, the CEO of MENTORS Magazine. If you don’t know about it yet, you have to discover it. She interviews a lot of inspiring people and you have to discover that, too. Hello, Linda!
Linda Forsythe: Hello, David! It’s just wonderful to be here. Thank you!
David Laroche: Thank you very much for coming. How are you?
Linda Forsythe: I am awesome! And I’ll tell you, it’s even more incredible… your story. This is why I’m here. I’m finally meeting you and watching all you’ve accomplished. It’s quite inspiring to me.
David Laroche: Perfect. We inspire each other. It’s great; I love that. I have a few questions to ask you but before that I would love to know more about your story. Can you share with us how you started your magazine and where you come from? And why did you do that and how did you succeed in doing that?
Linda Forsythe: What possessed me, right? [laughing]
David Laroche: Yes.
Linda Forsythe: Well, I was a nurse for 15 years and enjoyed doing that, mostly, specializing in Cardiac Care work. But sometimes nursing can burn you out when you see so much sadness — you’ve been dealing with it for such a long period of time — so many people in the medical field will take little breaks. I took a break in the beginning of 1990, in Colorado Springs, to do something different, and I got a job at a really small radio station. We hardly have any bandwith to broadcast anywhere. But they were looking for somebody to sell “air”, to sell advertisements, and they were willing to take anybody, and I, obviously, had no background or history of knowing how to do that. So, they went ahead and they hired me, and I was going to do this over the summer. Because it was such a small radio station, when you sold the “air”, so to speak, you wrote all your own advertisements, and they had this really neat room that had tapes, all kinds of cassette tapes back when, that were filled with every kind of imaginable sound—dogs barking, people clapping… all for different sound effects. It was almost like a playground. When you created your commercials you could write them; you could do all these sound effects and you could voice it with your own voice or find other people. On top of it — because this was a talk show format — some of the people that had their own talk shows—many times their guests couldn’t make it or they couldn’t make it, so they had me step in, and I loved it! It’s just like I came alive. It was, kind of, the first step into glimpsing of working with the media and working with people. It was from there that I went out and I started my first magazine. This is when desktop publishing was just starting. (Oh my Gosh, I’m sounding ancient!) It was just starting and I had no background in Journalism, or publishing, or writing or any of these types of things, but I knew how to sell ads from working at the radio station and that’s, at that time, what would fund a magazine.
I found somebody else to do the work that I didn’t know how to do, and I started my first publication. It was horrible… absolutely horrible! The idea was good—it was called “The Fundraising Guide” and I would find people that would teach people how to raise money for charities. These were experts in their fields and I would just publish what it is they had to do. It evolved over time and we started in the late ‘90s MENTORS Magazine. It was pretty much the “brand child” of Dan Kennedy. We were going to use it originally or he wanted to use it, originally, as a marketing tool for the people that he coached… these A-list celebrities that he coached. He asked if he could purchase one whole publication and I was to, basically, just do what he said. He told me, “I would not like the way the esthetics look.” He was going to take out all the pictures and “all the crap” as he put it, and utilize the right verbiage that would actually represent what somebody was teaching, because he also did the coaching with — I’m not going to name all the names — but names I am sure that you know of, teaching them how to give samples of what it is that they teach and make it content-driven, but have a strong call to action at the end. So, basically, he purchased one whole issue of the magazine as a test that he was going to use on himself to drive people to a boot camp that he wanted to put on, to an audience that nobody had ever heard of him, to fill the room and charge $8,000 a day to be able to do this and teach this in marketing, so he was just testing it. Basically, I just did what I was told, and he took the ball and he ran with it. It was called “Thriving Business Strategies” Magazine (I should have brought a copy).
David Laroche: Yes, I would love that.
Linda Forsythe: It’s a picture of him sitting on an elephant and it really is an elephant. I had to go out and find an elephant. Do you know how hard that is? I’d never been asked to do that before, and I actually found one. There was one in Arizona that just spends time there in the winter and belongs to a circus. It was a baby elephant that they had trained. So, Dan got up there — you could tell he was terrified! — but he got up there on the elephant. They taught the elephant how to raise upon its hind legs. We took all these pictures and he’s sitting there raising his hat in the air, and the title was also (I’m sorry, Dan) horrible—“Jumbo Ideas that Soar Above the Rest.” Then, we superimposed the picture of him on the elephant flying through the sky. That was our first experiment, but the thing was it had worked so well for his test market, filling the room way back when at that kind of a price. It was the beginnings of how MENTORS magazine started because he introduced me to all the different mentors around the world that he works with, and we developed different marketing tools for them at the time. Since that time the magazine has evolved where it is not a marketing tool. We had so many people contacting us wanting to have a subscription to this marketing tool that it became a regular magazine that gave actual information. So, it was an evolution of something very different, and then from MENTORS Magazine it turned into an E-version of the magazine. We also have the Radio shows as media, Televisions shows, Webinars. I get to travel around the world — just like you’re doing — interviewing people and putting them into the media. In fact, I just got through doing an interview with you that is soon going to be on the cover of MENTORS Magazine featuring David Laroche.
David Laroche: Great.
David Laroche: It’s a great story. I would like to know your opinion on why Dan decided to work with you.
Linda Forsythe: It’s interesting how one little opportunity, that if you miss it, you have no idea how much it could have completely changed your life around. When I had this magazine in Arizona — It was just a small Arizona magazine; it was not MENTORS…
David Laroche: Just to have an idea, how many copies did you sell at that time?
Linda Forsythe: This was just in Arizona. It was about 50,000 a month; it wasn’t that many, but it was just a smaller publication.
David Laroche: 50,000 and now?
Linda Forsythe: Well, now it’s hard to state the hard copies because we don’t do that many hard copies anymore. It’s mostly online and millions of people read it around the world in different languages.
David Laroche: It’s the same way to touch people.
Linda Forsythe: Very true, it’s how it evolved. He saw the magazine on the bookshelf at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Arizona. He goes there to become inspired — at least he used to when we both lived in Arizona — by different ideas. He saw the magazine there and the way he got in touch with me there is a lesson learned in this for anybody who wants to get in front of people that are hard or difficult to get in front of. When I had this magazine I used to have bags of mail sent to me every day by individuals that wanted free articles written on them; they wanted free everything and to be featured in the magazine. And, quite frankly, I just didn’t have the time and the bandwidth to open them all. So, what he did is — I never knew who this guy was. I never heard of him before… I had no idea. I get this great big box written “Urgent” all over it that was sent by FedEx (Federal Express), overnight mail, and obviously this stood out like a huge beacon above and beyond the millions of letters that were there. So, I went to that first; I was really curious what this was.
David Laroche: He’s amazing.
Linda Forsythe: I went ahead and opened it. (I still remember this when I think back.) I opened it and it was filled with testimonials. It’s like “You have got to be kidding me!” This entire box was just filled with newspaper clippings, letters of recommendation and everything imaginable that was inside of it. And on top of it there was one large color brochure and on top of that was this little, yellow, scraggly piece of paper, handwritten in pencil. It said, “Bet you didn’t know that you have the world-class marketing director living right here in Arizona. I’ve been featured in “USA Today” and I’m always on the Peter Lowe Success Seminars with Zig Ziglar (which were in front of like 50,000-60,000 people a couple of times a month back then). I would like to talk to you. Give me a call.”
David Laroche: Wow!
Linda Forsythe: And it just said “Dan Kennedy” and it had his number down there. He obviously caught my attention. I opened up the first brochure and I saw him on stage (a picture of him) at the Peter Lowe Success Seminar in front of 50,000-60,000 people and he was always the last speaker. And I just started thumbing through all these testimonials and I was fascinated not only by the audacity, by the courage, the unabashed brazenness to be able to move forward to do what he did, but HOW he was able to accomplish overcoming, being in front of the line of hundreds of other people. In other words, he was not getting lost in the mix. So, I met him and to make a long story short, the man is brilliant and he taught me many things and from there we developed a friendship. When I look back on this now, had I known then what I know now about him I would have been terrified to meet the man, because he “pulls no punches”; he’s straightforward; “No B.S.” type. He has no qualms at saying what he thinks; he gets straight to the message and things and I, probably, would have been intimidated.
David Laroche: What did you learn from working with him?
Linda Forsythe: Oh, my Goodness!
David Laroche: If you could give five things that you learned from him.
Linda Forsythe: Focus. He always talked about the absolute, critical key factor of focus about knowing exactly what it is that your are going after. For instance — to utilize one of his quotes — he would state something to the effect, “If you want to catch a certain amount of fish, go out in a boat with one little fishing line and one little hook, and then just sit there for hours to catch your fish. You herd them all into the river, into a barrel and shoot it.” So, what that taught me is—how many times people, when they’re doing marketing — It’s just the equivalent of throwing papers out of an airplane, millions, and hoping it lands in the hands of the right person or throwing something against the wall and hoping it sticks, so to speak, instead of finding the very close demographics of the exact type of customer that you want and need, and then you own that group. There are ways to go around that—that’s one thing.
Another Dan Kennedy quote—“Sometimes when you are up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember your original objective was to drain the swamp.” What that taught me is that it’s very typical that when you are going, moving forward in any type of project or adventure, or when you are teaching or you’re building your own business, stuff happens all the time. If you have your own office… he believes in the “closed door” theory. “I do not have an open office“, he says. “You have to have an appointment. I will not be interrupted. I am focusing. I have a lot to do and certain things. I’m going to do it. I’m going to do it well and I’m going to do it until it’s done, and DON’T interrupt me!” If you have all this peripheral stuff going on with family, the drama and everything else, and everybody needs and is trying to get a piece of you, you can’t focus. It’s just something that you can’t do. There are so many things that Dan taught.
David Laroche: Great. I love that.
Linda Forsythe: But this was the beginning because of him introducing me to all these other individuals that were spectacular and what they did. Because I was the only woman at that time in the industry, it was almost like I was looked at as a little sister or something to this effect. So, I had all these mentors, the best of the best mentors out there that were more than willing to tell me where to go, what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and at what time I need to do it and in what manner.
David Laroche: So, MENTORS Magazine was your mentor. [laughing]
Linda Forsythe: Many mentors at once and I loved it because I was coachable. That’s a big thing.
David Laroche: I think so, too.
Linda Forsythe: Because if you’re not coachable — Another cliché—“Lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.” You can tell somebody what to do but if they don’t do it… The other thing that is very important is to be able to think for yourself. You can go to all these seminars and become a seminar junky, and you can buy all these programs that tell you how to do — A, B, C… X, Y, Z — and you should have a mentor or a coach for certain aspects of things. It’s very, very, very important. But there is a degree of balance, because nobody — I don’t care how good a program is — can tell you what to do in every single aspect of things. If you don’t know how to solve problems; if you don’t know how to go within to figure out an answer how to overcome an obstacle, it is very difficult to be able to do this because you’re going to run into obstacles… it’s inevitable, and that is how to think for yourself. Nobody knows the answer better than you, but you can still ask for advice.
David Laroche: We were talking about a target audience, for example, when you have a seminar or a product. What is the target audience of MENTORS Magazine? Dan told you that you had to focus on one demographic group. What is target audience MENTORS Magazine?
Linda Forsythe: Because we have mentors in many different areas, we also target many different areas, but we do it one at a time: we have a MENTORS Magazine for entrepreneurs; we have a MENTORS Magazine for health and vitality; a MENTORS Magazine for real estate investors… so we have different groupings. He made it very clear that when you are talking or teaching about something that even though you may be an expert in many different things, or maybe you are advertising or selling something, and even if you have many different things that you can sell, choose that ONE thing and choose it very well in the verbiage and get people where they just, absolutely, have to have that ONE thing. For example, McDonald’s is pretty much around the world and those of you who have ever gone through the drive-through at McDonald’s you all know that their entire menu is filled with many things that they are very, very good at, and they’ve been tested and proven to sell. But when you see an advertisement on the television for something at McDonald’s you will only see ONE thing on that menu, that entire commercial. The new McCafé—that entire commercial is about that cup of coffee, and showing the whip cream, and the chocolate and the different flavors that this type of coffee has. So, they really have your mouth watering to come in for that, and that’s a lot of money to spend on the advertisement. It’s in our nature that we’re out there marketing ourselves and if we have multiple things that we are good at, we want to fit the entire “laundry list” in. That’s just not going to work. You must focus on one thing, do it well, and then after it is established move on to the next thing. There are much more to this.
David Laroche: How do you develop MENTORS Magazine? Why do you have this kind of success now? What do you do to have this kind of success with MENTORS Magazine?
Linda Forsythe: We came out with a very different model than a typical magazine. Nobody had been doing this before, but interestingly enough I found out that there had been a couple of people that were doing something similar, but it wasn’t known to the public. For instance, I don’t know if you used to have the show “Johnny Carson” in Europe…
David Laroche: No.
Linda Forsythe: People here in United States will know what I’m talking about. Johnny Carson would always have on his late-night television shows a well-known Hollywood celebrity or a well-known musician, and people would love to tune in because they wanted to listen to these types of individuals just talking and what’s going on. Well, the ultimate objective was marketing for that actor, or that actress or that musician. At the end of the conversation in the interview there was a strong call to action where they would show a clip of the movie that was going to come out in one week, or they would have them perform on stage the song that’s about to be released and etc. So to answer your question, they gave the public a sample of what they were doing through the media because the media gives you credibility, especially if it is a third party representing you to the world, if you understand at all what I mean. If in this example Johnny Carson is saying, “This actor here is, incredibly, talented and we previewed this movie which was very, very good and in fact, we’re going to show you little clips of this movie.” Then, what happens? People want to go out and see the movie; it’s free publicity. It’s interesting because it came from a third party testimonial that was in the media that gave people a sample of what it is that they did or what they were coming out with.
That is a concept that MENTORS Magazine does. We go out there and we look for the most fascinating, intriguing, interesting individuals around the world that have an incredible story to tell, that is truly a mentor and has the proof, and history, and experience, and background that they know what they are talking about. So, we interview them and have conversations. What that works out being is a third party testimonial — because I’m, basically, endorsing them — giving the public a sample of what it is they do, and then at the end there is the call to action that draws people to the person that’s being interviewed. So, the lesson to an entrepreneur is this—in marketing you are a lot smarter to draw people to you so they come to you in a stampede, in droves. They will do anything to get to you to be able to have a little bit of your time, and your product and the service that you offer. I’m going to use Tony Robbins because that is your mentor; that is your hero. You listen to what he has to say on stage; you are fascinated by it, and what does he do at the end? He has a product or a service he sells. And look at what you’re doing. You were doing anything to be able to get in front of Tony—that’s marketing on his hands. Look at what he was able to get you to do without even trying. That’s what the media does. That is what being in the magazine or on T.V. or anything to this degree—if you are able to obtain a following, then people will do anything to come to you. So as an entrepreneur, if you want to build your business you need to create a buzz; you need to get people to know you, to like you, to know the person “behind the big desk”, so to speak. There is somebody there that’s real. They can see your personality, your heart, your spirit, and your intentions. They can have a sample of what it is that you are offering while still showing the human side of you, and something like this is very, very powerful. That is how MENTORS Magazine got out there because the individuals that were in the magazine distributed it on their websites; when it was in hard copy, they would give it out in droves, and I didn’t have to give them anything.
David Laroche: To make sure I understand, the fact that someone is promoted a lot in MENTORS Magazine…
Linda Forsythe: Promoted themselves a lot.
David Laroche: Yes, they don’t want only to promote the MENTORS Magazine, to show “Wow, I was in the magazine!”, but it’s also an indirect way to promote what they do. Also, other people see that someone is promoted and they want to come, right?
Linda Forsythe: It’s the process of the association. They see somebody who was on the cover of the magazine, which is not easy to do (number one), and that gives them — the person that’s on the cover — credibility in the public eye. So, what they have to say is “listen to”… a little bit easier, a lot easier. When all the different people in the magazine were doing the same thing and getting it out there, our database built up because they were sending people back to our website; they were sending people to be able to listen to the interview; to be able to watch it and so on. So, we built our database up over the years to be substantial. This is why we are so listened to; it’s because over the years how it started—other people using it as a marketing tool, and going from there.
David Laroche: Yes, I love that.
David Laroche: I have a website in France to invite youth to do interviews. I believe a lot in the power of interviewing to learn and to improve yourself. What advice could you give to be a top interviewer?
Linda Forsythe: What advice would I give to be a top interviewer? Be interested, genuinely intrigued by the person that you are interviewing, because people can sense if you’re interested or you’re just going through the motions, reading a card and it’s just a job. Be really engaged in what the people you are interviewing are saying and help them to shine, to bring out what is within them, putting yourself into the minds of the audience—what would the audience want to know? Would they object to what the person is saying? What would they say against that? What would they say if they wanted to know more about something, genuinely wanting to know? So, putting yourself into the mind of the audience and being intuitive in that manner is very important. Before the person is being interviewed (in other words the person is sitting in my chair, so to speak), you need to have an understanding of what the audience needs. First of all, you have to know that the person being interviewed is in front of the right demographics. You’re not going to put me in front of a bunch of preschoolers—they’re not going to be interested.
Since this is in front of entrepreneurs, teaching them — especially when you are young and starting out as an entrepreneur — that there are ways to drive people to you; there are ways to have them coming in droves. All you have to do is close the sale or hire people to close the sale. When you do things in this way, in a particular type of order, life is so much easier because it’s the money coming into the business that creates the business to function, to do the profit, but the profit comes from people. And if you do not, continuously, keep in mind what the people want instead of you assuming — because you have a product or a service you want to sell — if you do not listen to your public, to your clients about what it is they really want and then help them to solve a problem or be able to provide to them what it is that they need, that is what is going to make your business successful. And it’s doing this on a consistent, ongoing basis without getting too comfortable after a while and having somebody else run the business, because “water flows downhill.” And I can tell you right now that I can walk into just about any business and the person sitting at the front desk or whatever, if they are grumpy or give bad service, or they have an attitude, or they have an ego, you can be certain that as “water flows downhill”, the person at the top is, probably, pretty similar versus the person sitting at the front desk is engaging and is really caring about their customers and so on. The person at the top made darn certain that the individuals that were in front of their customers were coming across in a way that they believe it was necessary, instead of just trying to make a buck.
David Laroche: So, we have to focus on what we’ll be able to give through the interview to the people who are following us.
Linda Forsythe: Correct.
David Laroche: I would like to add a question because you are a woman and you know that. I have a lot of youth who are following me. Do you have some life lessons for young women to succeed in life?
Linda Forsythe: Life lessons… Well, I have quite a few, but I’ll narrow it down to just one or two.
David Laroche: What would you share with or say to a young woman who has a dream?
Linda Forsythe: When you enjoy what you do and if you are doing it because you genuinely love it, and you deeply care about the people you are working with, that comes across. People can sense your intentions even if it’s subliminally. Everybody can; everybody has that ability. So, a life lesson would be that when you are genuinely happy and you love what you’re doing, you put out an aura, an essence, almost like a power that just glows from you. And no matter what you do, whether it is finding a relationship; whether it is working with your family, your children; whether it is starting a business; whether it is talking to an individual, people can tell if you really care or if you’re just doing it to obtain something from them, sell them a bill of goods or whichever, trying to manipulate. When it’s something that simple, when you just simply engage in conversation and many times not even bringing up business, just talking with people and getting to know them, that is the strongest sales tool that you could use more than all these different tips that you could be given. People buy from you because they like you and because they trust you.
David Laroche: Wow!
Linda Forsythe: So, go out there and make friends, get to know them, find out what they want and it’s the same thing with your children, the same thing with your significant other… just be true to yourself and be happy doing it.
David Laroche: Great. I love that.