Matt Church: Sell Your Thoughts Book Summary

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  • We define Thought Leadership as ‘thinking in action’.
  • If you organize in such a way that others will pay for them, you just might be onto something.
  • We have moved our need from knowledge to applied wisdom; from expert to trusted authority.
  • Knowledge is not a competitive advantage – knowing how to apply that knowledge to achieve a specific outcome is!
  • The idea of value around information is shifting. You need to know more than the obvious answer to any given questions. You need to be able to create new insights and repurpose old insights so that they are relevant. This is Thought Leadership.
  • The infopreneur (a one-person business, such as an independent consultant) is a relatively new category of worker. Fiercely independent, unconventional, non-traditional and growing in numbers, these people search for greater freedom and more control over their destiny.

  • The game is to get paid extremely well doing work you love, with people you like, the way you want.
  • How do you become an ‘infopreneur’? The word infopreneur is a hybrid one that combines ‘’information’ and ‘entrepreneurism’. It is someone who sells their ideas and expertise, or their intellectual property (IP), in a way that others value.
  • Infopreneurs become recognized as Thought Leaders when they clearly define a unique perspective or offering to the market based around the subject they are an expert in – when they build on the existing thinking in their field.



Chapter 1: Shift in business model: practice vs business

  • “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” (Albert Einstein)
  • A successful business can operate separately from its founder or owner, and if it’s set up right, it can be sold.
  • An unsuccessful business is one where the owner has bought themselves a job – and typically a low-paid job with long hours working for a lunatic (themselves)

  • In your practice, the primary focus is to think, sell and deliver.
  • The three lenses are your message, your market and your method


Chapter 2: Your Message

  • “Think twice before you speak and you will speak more wisely for it.” (Benjamin Franklin)
  • Your message needs to be relevant, thorough, elegant and unique.
  • First find out what is already published or said, and then look for the new angle you can bring to it.


Chapter 3: Your Market

  • “If you work just for money, you’ll never make it. But if you love what you’re doing, and always put the customer first, success will be yours.” Ray Kroc
  • Whose problems do your ideas solve? Until you have spent the time thinking through your message, you have no idea who will really benefit from it.
  • You gain experience and subject-matter expertise before you explore who to sell your thoughts to.
  • For a practice to work profitably, you often need to have multiple niches. That means you will focus on several markets at the same time. You just don’t communicate with them all in the one marketing conversation.
  • It’s all about finding your angle. As a subject-matter expert, you have a message that is the primary driver for how you commercialize your ideas. The focus on market is then from a message-out focus, not a market-in approach. Rather than asking what does a specific market need? you ask, how does what I know serve a specific market?
  • The mantra we push in the Million-Dollar Expert program is the idea of: doing what you love, with people you like, the way you want.
  • Two distinct markets: public or professional
  • Market narrowly, deliver broadly
  • When we are starting out we don’t want to cut anyone out, so typically we market broadly; we cast the net wide. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work – paradoxically, the more targeted, the narrower, the marketing is, the more effective it becomes.
  • The power of positioning
  • These three strategies are Business 101 – nothing new. If you market, sell and build relationships, you will drive growth through your business. They require you to push your value proposition out into the world. This is the work of getting business.
  • When you are positioned as a Thought Leader in your field, everything gets easier. Referrals, recommendations and positioning make growing your business almost effortless. When you get these dynamics working in your business, you begin to leverage reputation to pull business in the door.




  • There is a turning point when you love from being an expert to being an authority, often around the blue-belt level; when you move from knowing something to being known for knowing something.
  • The evolution of sales
  • Sales 101 is basically about selling techniques. It becomes a numbers game: see enough people and get good enough at the techniques, and people will buy what you have to sell. The principle behind Sales 101 is some will, some won’t; so what? Get on with it!
  • Sales 201 is basically about relationship selling: get to know me well enough and build enough shared experience with me, and it’s likely I will do business with you. The principle behind Sales 201 is that people do business with people they like.
  • Sales 301 is basically about diagnostic selling: ask enough questions and understand enough about people’s buying criteria, and you can create a proposition that gets you the business. The principle behind diagnostic selling is understand me, show me you get it, and we will do business.
  • Sales 401 is all about authority selling: you know something and others might just have a need that you have already nailed a solution for. It’s about you disclosing your expertise first and asserting a level of knowledge on how to fix key issues that people may be experiencing, rather than assessing their level of need and creating a proposal (diagnostic selling). The principle behind authority selling is I know what’s going on and can help you with that.



  • Step 1: Known, spoken problems
  • This will be the problem that people openly discuss and believe that to date no one has come up with a solution for.
  • Step 2: known, unspoken problems
  • The unspoken problems are typically personal fears and concerns; doubt often creeps in here.
  • Step 3: Draw a value model.
  • A value model is a contextual diagram you can draw to explain the placement of your ideas in the context of the person’s situation.
  • Value models are essentially helping people with three issues:
  • Where am I on this journey? (Location)
  • Where do I want to go next? (Aspiration)
  • And what do I value most? (Currency)
  • Step 4: The unknown, unspoken problems (essentially, one of your IP Snapshots)


Chapter 4: Your method

  • “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. (Anton Chekhov)
  • How you get your message to your market. Essentially, it is the means or mechanism methodology that you will use to deliver your ideas. There are three broad delivery methods:
  • 1. Tell – where you deliver great ideas through stories and examples.
  • 2. Show – where you deliver great ideas through a learning process.
  • 3. Ask – where you deliver by asking questions that lead people to your ideas.




  • The direct channel allows you to focus immediately on individuals. It is the communication that is intended to be directed so that an individual can receive it. Tell = Authorship. Show = Mentor. Ask = Coach.
  • The indirect channel allows you to deliver your message to a larger group. It is not so much targeted to an individual, but more to a group of individuals. Tell = Speaker. Show = Trainer. Ask = Facilitator.
  • We suggest that you package your expertise so it can be delivered out across all or any of these six channels.
  • It is much easier to get $100,000 per year from each of the six modes than to get $600,000 per year from one.
  • Speaker mode
  • Speaking is about telling. It often involves speaking to many people in a direct way that delivers a specific message. Speaking is the broadcast channel. The minute a speaker gets a large audience, they are able to influence significantly more people than in the other modes. It’s a leveraged way to gain influence.
  • Speakership is the 21st century’s voice of leadership; it’s the key to greater influence, engagement and driving of energy through your business.
  • Author mode
  • Like speaking, authorship is, also about telling – but through a different channel. It is the transference of your message to others on their time and in their place. Alongside speaking, writing is one of the most powerful and common means of delivering your ideas. Writing enables you to speak with one voice to many people at great distances regardless of time and, if translated, language barriers. Writing gives you huge leverage in a global market.
  • ‘Author’ comes from the root word authority, and being an author immediately positions you as an authority in a chosen topic.
  • Electronic forms of writing are more effective than publishing a book. Electronic publishing can be written and distributed quickly to capture a moment and market interest – and e-books now outsell physical books!
  • Having your articles published in print media adds credibility and makes you an expert in your area.
  • Trainer mode
  • Training is about showing. Often it is sharing a process with a group of people in a way that allows them to learn a new skill. Training allows you to show others what they need to do – and how to do it. It is about providing a set of skills and a process to create a behavioural change across a group of people.
  • Mentor mode
  • Mentoring is about sharing your past experience. This is often in a one-on-one setting that allows you to share insights that you learned in similar situations or similar roles. You actually get to participate in the journey of the person you mentor, and this helps refine your thinking and clarify your instincts in such a way that you can leverage them again and again.
  • Mentors make it their job to understand what they do so well they can reverse-engineer it for other people. They have to go from being great at something to being masterful at it. The mastery comes when you know it inside and out and are able to teach the process to others so that they get benefit.
  • Mentors are people who have ‘been there, done that’.
  • Coaching mode
  • Coaching is about asking an individual key questions. Often it is about allowing them to explore their own viewpoints and reflect on the issues that they currently face. Coaching is the art of asking great questions in a one-on-one setting.
  • Great coaches ask questions that plant seeds in the individual which blossom to take their thinking to another level.
  • Not all modes are create equal
  • In the tell modes, you gotta know people. In the show modes, you gotta know something. The ask modes, you gotta be present.
  • Chapter 5: Practice cluster strategies
  • “The key to strategy is omission.” Peter Drucker
  • Every great practice is basically a series of profitable projects.
  • A profitable project is best defined in a Million-Dollar Expert practice as some combination of message, market and method. Any specific combination of these 3Ms is called a ‘cluster’.
  • If you’ve got a book, it’s much easier to get speaking gigs. Deliver a great keynote address, and people will want to buy your training program. Run a kick-ass training day, and you’ll be in demand for your mentoring. And so on.


  • Every thought we sell has three dimensions: the content (concrete), the concept (specific), and the context (abstract).
  • We have to know when to fail fast and cut-and-run on ideas that no longer serve us.
  • Charles Darwin paraphrase that ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change’. Adapt or die!


Chapter 6: Climbing the million-dollar expert revenue ladder

  • In traditional Japanese martial arts there were originally only two belts – a white belt and a black belt. For years you wore a white belt, and then eventually you got your black belt. Typically it would take seven to 10 years to get a black belt.
  • The common pitfalls
  • Failing to clarify your message and your market
  • Attempting to move up the Million-Dollar Expert revenue ladder too quickly
  • Over-investing in office, staff and overheads
  • Doubting your ability to generate a million-dollar practice
  • It is not the circumstances that are holding you back…it is you. However…the problem lies in the perception of money, not with money itself. It is likely that years, and possibly generations, of false logic – the self-limiting beliefs of peers, role models or family – have sculpted within you negative associations to money.



Growth stage 1: Genesis and the rookie game

  • There are three mindsets for getting your expert practice and your life up and going. They fall into three contexts: visions, action and comprehension. To get started on any endeavour, we believe it works best to create your vision through a possibility mindset, keep yourself in constant action with a persistence mindset, and increase your comprehension of others through an empathy

Mindset 1: Possibility mindset.

  • The key to practising a possibility mindset is not to confuse probability with possibility. Probability is determined by past experience; possibility is determined by your imagination.
  • Possibility mindset mantra. See beyond your thoughts and feelings.

Mindset 2: Persistence mindset.

The second mindset is what makes things happen! A possibility mindset without persistence of action leaves you with nothing more than flights of fancy.

  • Feelings follow from behaviours rather than precede them.
  • Get some mentoring on what actions will help you to fulfil on the possibilities you came up with, and then persist with those actions until you achieve something.
  • Pick three actions you can take and then build an accountability structure around persisting with them, particularly in the face of failures.
  • Persistence mindset mantra. Do something you don’t feel like doing.

Mindset 3: Empathy Mindset.

  • The third and final mindset to adopt at the rookie level of infoprenuerial expert is about understanding others – the empathy mindset. Contrary to popular belief, building an expert practice is not all about you and your ideas. True commercial success is the marriage between your ideas and your target market’s perception.
  • Only by authentically putting yourself in their shoes can you understand what value means to an end-user or key client.


Growth stage 2 – Expansion and the pro game

Mindset 4: Courage mindset

  • Identify your fear, then overcome it. Many people think courage is the absence or removal of fear, but in fact it is the acceptance of your fear and setting your mind to push through it – that is courage.
  • Courage mindset mantra. Act outside your comfort zone.

Mindset 5: Innovation mindset.

  • Most people who do not achieve the financial success they wish to achieve are not willing to take the risks required.
  • Innovation is achieved by practising original thinking and creating new approaches.
  • The single biggest mistake for would-be innovators is to confuse innovation with invention.
  • Innovation mindset mantra. Draw outside the lines.

Mindset 6: Collaboration mindset

  • No genius has ever been completely realized on their own. The myth of the maverick guru is just that: a myth. As human beings, we need connection with each other like we need oxygen. Think about it: the ultimate form of punishment is solitary confinement.
  • Position yourself and partner with other recognized experts. Drop the competitive mindset and replace it with collaborative mindset is critical.
  • Collaboration mindset mantra. Sell your peers.


Growth stage 3 – Transcendence and the superstar game

  • The three mindsets for the superstar game are grounded in three contexts of presence, resilience, and mastery. To transcend the money game altogether to let go of attachment yet to earn more easily than previously imagined, we believe these mindsets make all the difference. You will establish your presence through a humility mindset, build your resilience through an opportunity mindset, and achieve mastery in guiding others through a generosity

Mindset 7: Humility mindset

  • Getting stuck in ego will see you held back from further growth.
  • Humility in this space is a lack arrogance, but not a lack of achievement or excellence.
  • Humility mindset mantra. Acceptance is far more powerful than pride.

Mindset 8: Opportunity mindset

  • See opportunities where most would have trouble seeing much more than disaster.
  • Create functional meaning from dysfunctional experiences.
  • Look back on your lowest moment, and regard them as the best thing that ever happened to you because of how they spurred you to create and grow.
  • Opportunity mindset mantra. Bounce back and then forward.
  • Mindset 9: Generosity mindset
  • Put ego aside and give openly and freely to others of what you know, so that they can excel at what they do.
  • True mastery is command over one’s ego and personal need.
  • A generosity mindset is not easy to develop, but its success lies in the act of giving without expectation or recognition.
  • To live a truly profitable and rewarding life, people are best served by constantly working on the wealth mindset, whether you wish to achieve greater financial reward or not.
  • Your primary job as a Thought Leader in your practice is to think, sell and deliver.
  • Stop trying to be someone else, and start being yourself in a new environment.
  • ‘You win every game you lose’ – if you have made a mistake, turn it into an opportunity.
  • Work on the ability to be non-judgemental.
  • Expect to fail a lot in the beginning; the faster you can fail the better, and it’s not a measure of you as a person.


Chapter 7: White Belt, Stage 1: Decision

  • “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re usually right. (Henry Ford)
  • White belt is the first level on the Million-Dollar Expert revenue ladder. It’s where your Thought Leader practice is generating an income of $10,000 a month, or $120,000 a year.
  • Focus: decision. The focus at white-belt level is decision. The first decision at white belt is deciding to build a Thought Leadership practice.
  • The word ‘decide’ comes from the same family of words as homicide, suicide, regicide, genocide… ‘cide’ meaning to kill. ‘Decide’ literally means to kill off the alternatives.
  • You need to decide which message and which market, and kill off the others that will distract you.
  • Decide on one market, one message, and deliver that message to that market.
  • Five things to do at white belt
  • 1. Commit
  • 2. Choose your message, market and method
  • 3. Enhance your database
  • 4. Start your procedure manual
  • 5. Measure the right things. In your thought leadership practice there are four critical things to measure: 1. Your thinking. 2. What you sell. 3. What you deliver 4. The cash that comes in
  • * Find a mentor, someone who has achieved what you want to achieve and is willing to help you do it faster than they did.


Chapter 8: Yellow Belt, Stage 2: Value

  • “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get – Warren Buffet.
  • Yellow belt corresponds to $20,000 a month or $240,000 a year from your practice.
  • The focus for yellow belt is value. The importance of thinking in terms of value, of selling value and, of course, of delivering value.
  • The concept of value is very powerful because it takes us out of our own world and into that of our clients and out market. What will deliver value to them?
  • Five things to do at yellow belt
  • 1. Value your expertise
  • 2. Value your time
  • 3. Re-evaluate your prices…and increase
  • * Within your Thought Leadership practice, be commercial. Don’t do low-value work. Recognize that the more low-value work you hang on to, the harder it is to move up the belts.
  • 4. Build a communication platform.
  • * Use one of the numerous software platforms that automates this communication process.
  • 5. Foster your network of like-minded Thought Leaders
  • * We view this as creating two critical components necessary for any infopreneur to be successful: knowledge and network.
  • * Play a bigger game
  • * Invest in yourself
  • * The more you learn, the more you earn


Chapter 9: Green Belt

  • “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and your must not stay there, you must go beyond them. (Bruce Lee)
  • Green belt is the third level and corresponds to $30,000 a month or $360,000 a year from your practice.
  • The focus at green belt is activity. Do more stuff. Think more, sell more and deliver more. Work harder. Push through.
  • Five things to do at green belt
  • 1. Cancel all fun
  • 2. Maintain your energy platforms
  • 3. Speak more – and create a new distribution channel
  • 4. Write more
  • * Blogging, tweeting and submit articles to specific magazines around your area of expertise.
  • 5. Fail fast
  • Advice from a Green belt
  • * Run a practice not a business
  • * Think big, spend small, invest wisely.
  • “Success breeds success. And the more successful you feel, the more successful you become; the bigger you are, the more in demand you’ll be; the more that’s going on, the more people will want you to get involved in their business and their lives.


Chapters 10: Blue Belt

  • “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. (Anon)
  • Blue belt is the fourth level on the revenue model, and it’s the point when it actually starts to get easier. At blue belt, your practice starts to have its own momentum. Your practice starts to have its own attraction and will continue to grow as long as you focus on positioning.
  • Focus: Positioning
  • Positioning is about amplifying the magnetic part of your business, and that’s our focus at blue belt – activities and projects that position you as the authority in your field.
  • You want to get to the point where your name will always come up when someone is looking to do something in your area.
  • Five things to do at blue belt
  • 1. Brand you – what are you going to be famous for?
  • 2. Get your book published
  • * Writing a book is the ultimate piece of positioning. Of you have written a book, suddenly you are the expert. It gives you instant credibility.
  • * Being an author makes it much more likely that you will be booked for keynote addresses that people will come to your training events and will hire you for mentoring, facilitating and training. In short, it sells all your other modes.
  • 3. Collaborate with other experts
  • 4. Take a leadership position within your community
  • 5. Get media coverage: traditionally or via social media


Chapter 11: Red Belt

  • Red belt is the fifth level on the Million-Dollar Expert revenue ladder – its $50,000 a month or $600,000 a year. At red belt, your practice starts to incorporate some components of a traditional business. Your start to leverage more off other people’s time and leverage your own IP more effectively.
  • Focus: Leverage
  • Five things to do at red belt
  • 1. Get other people delivering your IP
  • 2. Leverage other people’s markets
  • 3. Leverage other people’s IP
  • 4. Create products
  • * Audio presentation, e-books, DVDs and CDs, books, training manuals, games, online memberships, webinar series, online learning programs.
  • 5. Engage the third member of your team


Chapter 12: black belt

  • “Put all good eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.” (Andrew Carnegie)
  • Black belt is $60,000 a month, or $720,000 a year.
  • Focus: Investment
  • Five things to do at black belt
  • 1. Invest in your practice efficiency
  • 2. Train your competitors (this makes you the master)
  • 3. Invest in your professional development
  • * Establish the University Of You and enrol yourself in it. Set your curriculum at the start of the year, the things you want to learn, what courses you want to attend, what books you want to read etc. Get the best self education you possibly can.
  • 4. Do more work you love with people you enjoy
  • 5. Crank up your clusters
  • Advice to someone starting out
  • Do the work. Combine your thinking and commercialize your thinking to build your practice.
  • Dreams don’t come true, you do.
  • Dreams aren’t going to do it. You have actually got to do the work, and that takes complete commitment to the process.
  • Get over yourself and genuinely reflect more on your customer’s behalf.
  • “Your success will help many, many people; your failure is likely to help no one including yourself. (John Kehoe)


  • Chapter 13: Beyond Black belt
  • “Let’s live now, thinking of seven generations of children following us. (Native American proverb)
  • Five choices you can make to go beyond black belt
  • 1. Grow: more of the same, and work harder
  • 2. Shift: change gears and work smarter
  • 3. Flip: take yourself out of the game and turn it on its head
  • 4. Combine: let your practice be the rainmaker for your business
  • 5. Live: use your practice as an experience passport
  • * Take out your bucket list, and start ticking things off.


  • Five things to do beyond black belt
  • 1. Engage your tribe
  • * Turn your customers into a movement
  • * We are tribal creatures: we evolved in tribes, and we love to belong.
  • 2. Get productivity obsessed
  • 3. Look at building more capacity
  • 4. Obsess about distribution
  • 5. Focus more on your legacy work
  • * A legacy is best defined as ‘planting a tree under which you will never sit.’


Successful strategies going from white belt to black belt with Peter Sheahan

  • 1. Quality on the platform
  • 2. Positioning
  • 3. Publishing
  • 4. Doing the work
  • 5. Be prepared to throw away what work
  • * Gary Kasparov, the world chess champion, talks about the gravity of success – about how we get anchored to a certain way of doing things, anchored to a certain belief system, or comfortable in a level of success that robs us of the ability to get to the next level.
  • * It’s the willingness to just keep breaking free of your belief systems, keep breaking free of your work habits and your disciplines, and keep breaking free of even your own fears about what you think you can charge.
  • Chapter 14: Practice Longevity
  • * Getting to black belt is often a three-year journey, and reaching financial independence from your practice can take around 10 years.
  • Five things to achieve our long-term goals. Choice, Methodology, Support, Accountability and Structure.

  • 1. Choice – choose to run a Million-Dollar Expert practice
  • Useful ideas for dealing with a fear of failure
  • * No one else cars.
  • * Small improvements can get big results.
  • * No regrets.
  • * Failure is a part of life.
  • 2. Methodology – your how
  • Method, Market, Mode, Clusters, Revenue ladder
  • 3. Support – Your A-team
  • Surround yourself with people who are on the same path and who believe in you.
  • 4. Accountability – sticking to the plan
  • 5. Structure – what to do when


Chapter 15: Wealth Plan – 10 years to financial independence

  • “If you are willing to make the necessary trade-offs of your time, energy and consumption habits, you can begin building wealth and achieving financial independence.” Thomas Stanley, the millionaire next door
  • There are three things, and three things only, that dictate how quickly you reach financial independence:
  • 1. How much you earn.
  • 2. How much you spend.
  • 3. How well you invest.
  • The top three characteristics of millionaires in the book the millionaire next door
  • 1. Lived well below their means. Create a gap between what you earn and what you spend.
  • 2. Prioritized financial independence over high social status
  • 3. Allocate time, energy and money efficiently in ways conducive to building wealth.


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