NICOLAS COLE

Writer

Featured In Forbes: Leaving My 9-To-5 To Become A Full-Time Writer

Podcast FeaturesNicolas ColeComment
nicolascoleforbes

It is beyond humbling to have my story featured in Forbes (click here to read the article)

Whoever said writing is a dying craft got it all wrong.

I remember when I first started writing on the Internet, way back in 2007 as a gamer. The whole world of blogging and content writing at that time was still very, very new, and everyone was trying to find their footing. I just happened to find mine by writing about World of Warcraft and being a ridiculous teenager.

I took a few years after that to study, first journalism at the University of Missouri and then creative writing at Columbia College Chicago. I spent a lot more time reading and writing short stories. That was a big transition for me, taking an early interest in writing blogs about video games and refining it into a more widely accepted form of expression.

When I came back to writing on the Internet in 2015, I stumbled upon Quora. Quora took everything I had thought I'd known about writing and flipped it on its head. Instead of writing things in isolation, I started writing in public again. Every single Question on that site was a writing prompt, and no matter what came out onto the page, I shared it. I let people read that day's work, and told myself whatever the feedback, I would try again the next day.

When people say they want to be a writer, they talk about it as if it's this elusive sort of title—you wear artsy clothes and hang out at coffee shops and carry around old English classics. But it's that context that has made so many people think that writing is dying. How does that fit into our fast-paced world of today?

It doesn't.

Writing isn't dying. Writing is changing, just like every other art form has changed over the years. And if you want to be a successful writer, or successful at whatever it is you love, you have to be willing to learn and adapt to the demands of today.

I still read the classics. If anything, it's what separates me from a lot of other digitally-minded writers. I study Nabokov, and Hemingway, and Dostoevsky. But I also study viral bloggers, and today's best-selling authors. I feed my brain with both, and then think hard about how I can forge a space of my own.

In the past 4 years, I have reached every single writing goal I have set for myself.

The next one?

I want to write and publish a New York Times best seller, independently.

Everyone who has supported my writing, and follows my content on Quora, or my blog, or my Inc column, thank you. You're the reason I push myself to wake up and write something new, every single day.

We've taken it pretty far—a lot farther than a lot of people ever thought.

I want to take it a whole lot farther.

My next book is going to be called How To Leap, and will be coming out in July, 2017.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Launching Digital Press, a Ghostwriting + Influence Agency

Must ReadsNicolas ColeComment
nicolascoledigitalpress

Some exciting news...

Over the past seven months, a good chunk of what I have been doing has been ghostwriting for a handful of serial entrepreneurs, CEOs and successful business owners. The business of ghostwriting is a fascinating one, and for those wondering, I recently wrote an article on LinkedIn about how I even found myself ghostwriting for people in the first place.

Here's the thing: By writing daily on Quora for almost three years now, I have learned something very, very important about the Internet—and honestly, what it means to be "successful" in any industry, period.

When you are seen as an authority figure in your respective space, and when you consistently put out high-quality content that provides real value, you open doors of opportunity for yourself that are simply impossible through conventional means of advertising. And I don't mean content for the sake of content, I mean truly unique pieces of work that someone would actually read, sit back, and think to themselves, "Wow, that completely changed my perspective." 

The problem is that most people don't want to invest the time or the resources in order to actually become true thought leaders. They want to spend money on ads, or hire a PR firm to get them a feature article in a major publication once every other month, because they think those more popular (and usually cost effective) roads will get them where they want to go, faster.

Let me explain something to you: becoming a true thought leader in your industry is hard, hard work. It takes a lot of time. It takes patience. And it takes having a ruthless commitment to providing more value to the people in your space or industry than anyone else out there. It's a competition for attention, and you have to be willing to go the distance in order to keep people's eyeballs on you. 

...But when you become a thought leader? The opportunities start rolling in—at a rate you would have never been able to achieve through conventional means of advertising.

When I started building my personal brand online, I was maybe a year out of college, if that. My dream was to become a successful writer and author, and I knew that in order to make that dream come true, I would need to learn how to market myself and get my writing in front of the right people. 

This is what building a personal brand is all about. People think personal branding means having a really great image on the Internet, having an ultra professional profile picture, social media headers crafted by a graphic designer, and sharing motivational quotes on Instagram. And yes, all of those things do play a part—but if I'm being completely honest, they play a small part, at best. They are spices. Not the dish itself.

The main course is what you say. It's the knowledge you share—and the way you share it. It's what truly makes you worth listening to instead of someone else. Why should anyone call you a thought leader? What do you know that's ACTUALLY different than what everyone else knows? Can you explain it better? Can you come at it from a different angle? Can you take something extremely complicated and make it easy to understand?

This is how I started ghostwriting for high-profile entrepreneurs and executives: they would read my Quora answers and Inc Magazine columns, and they would email me saying, "I love your writing voice. I have so much I want to share, I just don't know how to share it. I can't write like you. Can you help?"

Yes. Yes, I can.

And that's why I've decided to launch my first company, Digital Press.

Some of the smartest, most knowledgable people I have ever had the fortune of speaking with, often do not have the time to write the amount of high-quality content I know from personal experience is absolutely required in order to build a personal brand online.

However, we are now living in a day and age when people are not just interested in the company's story—they are interested in the stories of the people who started it. They want to know the CEO. They want to know their journey. They want to look to the individual for guidance and insight, because they were the one who brought their vision to life.

To have a personal brand, and to be a true thought leader in your industry is the single most valuable thing you could possibly have in today's economy. 

When you are a thought leader, opportunities come to you:

  • Inbound clients
  • Speaking opportunities
  • Book deals (or the ability to write and self-publish your own book, to your own audience)
  • Hold mastermind groups
  • High-profile podcast appearances
  • Your own work featured in major publications like TIME, Forbes, Business Insider, Inc Magazine, etc.
  • Opportunities to collaborate and network with other well-known thought leaders

So, what is Digital Press?

Digital Press is a ghostwriting agency, where everything you've seen me do for myself, we do for you.

It's for the person who has built a successful company, and realizes that investing in their own personal brand is the single most valuable return on investment they could possibly make. The person who, instead of paying a PR firm a retainer each month, understands that at a certain point, they can get their own high-quality content republished by major publications. The person who, instead of spending money on digital advertising, can organically attract attention by writing extremely valuable pieces of content on the Internet on social platforms like Quora, Medium, and LinkedIn. 

Digital Press is for the person who has more than enough industry expertise, they just need help with the heavy lifting, and most importantly, want their content crafted in a way that is highly shareable and easy to read.

This is a culmination of my years spent writing online, refining the art of constantly putting out high-performing, extremely valuable content. My work has been featured in dozens of major publications: TIME, Forbes, Fortune, The Huffington Post, Business Insider, The Chicago Tribune, Fox News, Apple News, Entrepreneur, and more. I have amassed over 20,000,000 views on all of my written content. I have appeared on podcasts with millions of listeners, and I have built a powerful network of industry influencers and thought leaders.

All because I wrote one valuable piece of content, every single day, in the right places online.

The same process I discovered and executed on to build myself into a thought leader, is what we do for you at Digital Press.

 

Winnie Sun Interview: Meet Nicolas Cole - Author, Speaker, and Entrepreneur

Podcast FeaturesNicolas ColeComment
nicolascolewinniesun

I recently made my way to the west coast to chat with Winnie Sun, one of the biggest names in finance, a Forbes columnist, and podcast host of The Renegade Money Show.

To be honest, this is probably one of the most comprehensive video pieces I have right now that explains my story thus far.

I talk a lot about the power of building your own personal brand, and the importance of sharing who you are and what you know that could provide people value. But this video interview is a perfect example of the outcome of those efforts. Winnie and I play in very different industries, and yet what we share in common is a desire to share what we know with people in a way that teaches, empowers, motivates, etc. That's what allowed us to collaborate, and what allows anyone in any industry to connect with influencers in very different spaces. 

Check out the full show below:

Become The Lion Podcast Featuring Nicolas Cole

Podcast FeaturesNicolas ColeComment
nicolascolebecomethelion

I have written a few guest blogs for the motivational site for young entrepreneurs, Become The Lion, and recently they had me as a guest on their podcast.

Some of the articles I've written for them are:

1. 7 Daily Habits All Young Entrepreneurs Need In Order To Become Successful

2. Nine Brutal Truths Every Entrepreneur Needs To Know Before They Start Their First Business

On the podcast, we chatted about Confessions of a Teenage Gamer, why every young entrepreneur should be focused on building their personal brand, and my forthcoming book, How To Leap.

Click here to read the full blog post about the show on their site. Otherwise, enjoy and listen below!

 

 

Maybe You Thought I Wouldn't Vlog Under the Eiffel Tower In Paris | #CoffeeWithCole Episode 5

#CoffeeWithColeNicolas ColeComment
nicolascoleparis

When I was in 5th grade, we as students had to make a decision which foreign language we were going to take in middle school. The route most students chose was Spanish, for obvious reasons. It's an easier language to learn. Most of the parents had taken Spanish growing up and felt like they could better help their kids—mine included. But I didn't want to take Spanish. I wanted to take French.

Why did I want to take French? Well, when I was in 5th grade I was positively sure I was going to become a professional hockey player. It wouldn't be long, I thought, before I found a foster family in Canada, lived a rigorous life of training on and off the ice, and fast-tracked my way to becoming the captain of the Detroit Red Wings (my favorite team growing up). 

I wish I could say I was joking, but this was truly my thought process. And everyone knows that in order to be a hockey player in Canada, one must speak French.

"I took Spanish growing up, and I still speak a little. I will be able to help you," my father said, sitting with me in front of his brand new 1998 Macintosh computer. We were looking up foreign language textbooks online, preparing for the big leap into middle school.

I shook my head.

"Dad, if I am ever going to make it to the NHL, then I need to play in Canada. Which means I need to be able to speak French. I've already made up my mind," I said.

He encouraged me to rethink my decision, reminding me of the long-term consequences of choosing the wrong language to study at such a young age. But I insisted.

French it was.

I proceeded to spend the next 9 years studying the language—although "studying" here implies that I took the learning process with even an ounce of sincerity, wherein there was none. The truth is, I loved the idea of being a French speaking Canadian hockey player much more than I actually enjoyed sitting down and learning how to conjugate verbs in the foreign language. I hated it, hated the whole thing. I took French for all three years of middle school, all four years of high school, and then another year in college to satisfy my credit requirements. It was horrible. Do I wish I had studied Spanish instead? Not particularly—I think I would have struggled with that language just as much. 

But still, throughout that entire journey (of which I learned so little that I might as well have quit after the first year), I did find the whole French culture to be quite fascinating. I enjoyed listening to the language. I found crêpes to be exquisite (before I found out I had to eat gluten free). And most of all, I did want to visit Paris. Of what I had seen in textbooks and classroom movies, it was nothing short of magnificent. 

I think this is my issue with organized education, and why I always struggled to care about what I was learning when seated in front of a textbook. Because for nine years, I couldn't get myself to take interest in the French language. But the moment I found myself standing outside of the Louvre, I was in love. I didn't want to leave. The entire city was so rich with art and history. Every building seemed like a work of art in itself. And even getting in and out of cabs and realizing that I could understand what the drivers were saying in French, it made me want to speak, and learn, and use the language. 

As I mentioned in #CoffeeWithCole Episode 4, what made this trip to Paris so special is that I finally got to visit this city on my own—not as part of a school trip abroad or a family vacation. That's not to discount those experiences at all, but there is a different level of appreciation that happens when you travel by yourself, or with a group of friends (as I had during this Europe tour). 

Of the three places we visited—Budapest, Amsterdam, and Paris—I can say, without question, Paris was not only the most enjoyable, but somewhere I could actually see myself living at some point. Maybe you thought I wouldn't Airbnb a spot for three months and go write a novel about a man wearing a chapeau...



What I'm Currently Reading

nicolascolemanageyourdaytoday

Lately I have been juggling a lot of different opportunities, and was having trouble blocking off sufficient amounts of time in my schedule to work on my most important projects. Whenever I fall into this sort of schedule, I love re-reading this book: Manage Your Day-To-Day

In short, it's basically a quick read full of helpful reminders of how important it is to be disciplined with your time in order to truly be creative. It's a bad cliché thinking that creative people just sit around waiting for inspiration to strike. That's really not how it works. The truly creative ones, and those who end up building successful careers for themselves, structure their daily schedule around time spent practicing their craft. 

If you are feeling out of flow, or like you're chasing too many pursuits, I highly suggest giving this a read. It will help remind you of what's most important.


What's Next?

I'll be recording my Entrepreneur On Fire episode here in less than a week! 

Also, starting to get everything ready for my next book launch, How To Leap. Still very early here, but I will be holding a private book launch event in Chicago. If you have been a long-time reader and want to come, shoot me an e-mail and I will put you on the list. It'll be a party. There will be a book signing, a reading, and will take place at a cool restaurant so drinks and food will be available. 

cole@nicolascole.com