Publishing Your Expertise and Inspiring Story to Create Abundance and Hope:
Interview with Publisher, Ken Rochon
Ken Rochon, who also goes by Dr. Smiley is a renaissance man and serial entrepreneur.
He has written 38 books, published over 300, and is an expert in creating impact with book tours and social proof campaigns.
He has visitors from over 100 countries and is a proud Daddy to his 9-year-old son who has Authored 8 books.
Read the Transcript
The Nonprofit Exchange: “We Amplify Goodness” In Conversation with Ken Rochan
Hugh Ballou: It’s Tuesday at 2 Eastern, United States. Daylight savings time is gone – It is regular time. This is episode 318 of The Nonprofit Exchange, 8 years, very interesting gas-free, and useful information.
Today, it is going to be different. Going to teach you about putting your story in a book. Now, you never thought about a book, but we have had people that have done children’s books in the past and raised money for their charity. We are going to take a little bit different tack today. So, my guest is a long-time friend, a wonderful photographer, and now, he is a publisher and has helped a lot of people get their message out and get into wide distribution – Ken Rochan – Welcome to The Nonprofit Exchange! and tell people a little bit about who you are and why are you doing this important work?
Ken Rochon: Thank you, Hugh Ballou. Thank you for having me on your show. Thank you for what you do with this show to help nonprofits because that work is so important. I know it is because I have worked with them, and they are challenged all the time with marketing, money, and support.
I am a product of an eternal optimist. My mom brought me up to believe you can do anything with your life, and every failure is just a disguised opportunity. So, I have kind of rose-colored glasses when I entered this world, and all the way through my life, and unfortunately for her, she got dementia at the very young age of 62, I became a caregiver, and turned my life over to God, and was just blown away that her biggest gift she gave me was her death so that I realized how precious life was, and I immediately thought, Gosh! There are so many nonprofits that need help, and my mom was always an advocate of making donations and helping really anything that touched your heart.
I decided to come up with a company called the Umbrella Syndicate, which was a Media Company, and I had marketing skills, so I would use cameras to capture stuff and put on social media. I have as many as 30,000-40,000 people coming to my page to see what was happening. Good 7 years spin forward, I met you at CEO Space, and that went to 13 forums. Met a gentleman named, Barry Shore and he gave me a card called Keep Smiling, and this was the card that reminded me the most of my mom, and I thought if there was ever any card or message that she would want in the world, it would be to smile and cause positivity. So, I thought, this is how I am going to help nonprofits the most. I am going to show how they create smiles and smiles are an indicator of impact, as you know. So the more smiles you are creating in the world, the more you are causing people to have a shift, or have their problem solved, or have their worries at least either eliminated or reduced.
Who I am, is a person that learned how to take a camera, take pictures, turn them into books, and have these crazy viral campaigns, and then a long time into it, I realized the most important thing you can do in the world is inspiring people with your story. So, I started publishing inspiring stories and combined that with people that have lost hope and there are a lot of people that, as you know after the pandemic, are trying to quit or did not know what they were going to do with their life. And so I created a book called Dose of Hope, and it is a marketing system for Hope, but it is also a marketing system for people that are making really big things happen in the world. They just need some amplification, and I call amplifying something, making something louder without distorting it – In other words, keeping the truth of it. That is why I am excited to be on a program like yours because you have so many relationships with nonprofits, and I want to help them because it is my calling.
Hugh Ballou: Great! That is a passion and that is philanthropy. It’s the love of humankind, so we do provide value for others through that loving humankind. So, you have got an amazing thing going on here with this publishing. Why should nonprofit leaders publish a book?
Ken Rochon: In my studies of what converts the most, if you look at somebody who talks about their nonprofit, and they just talk about it. People acknowledged that there is a problem, and they say, yeah, that is too bad. And they dig in their pocket, and they throw some shekels at the problem and they say, Okay, I have done my thing. But when you can share your inspiring story about how that money makes a difference, and how the person who gives their life to make this problem either eradicated or just at least reduced, so there is not a heavyweight in the world, you get people that actually say, how much do you need?
However, I would like to be the Carnegie. I like to be the Rockefeller with my abundance to make a difference. I have earned all this money. I want to put it to good use. In fact, Bill Gates had a beautiful vision by saying, “those of you that are in the billions, give half of it to something that would actually make the world better.”
I think that inspiration is the number one reason people will give because it will talk on their heartstrings. But what we will get that vault open up really big, is social proof. Social proof is the inspiration showing that when the money is raised that things really happen, and impact really happens. People are being helped, and they are becoming future leaders to help solve problems in the world. So, that combination of those variables of inspiration and social proof, I believe, were the ultimate answer and they are done beautifully with books.
Hugh Ballou: Love it! We tend to think as nonprofit leaders we cannot spend money on marketing, and really, we need to spend money on marketing, but we need to spend it wisely because we, in fact, are stewards of other people’s money. But there are a lot of ways we can brainstorm some of these, that the book can actually generate more revenue. And so we are running instead of a for-profit business, we are running a for-purpose business. We need to generate revenue, so we can fulfill the mission that we have been called to.
The reasons for publishing a book in my mind are to clarify the results of your work. Number one, the impact of our work is what money listens for. Money has ears. It is going to gravitate too. This is what is making a difference, so I am going to go here. Also, people are attracted who want to help you, volunteers, board members, advisors, and committee members. People are called to work because they can read about it, and they are inspired. So what are some other reasons why people should think in the nonprofit world? It is not an ego thing that I am a celebrity. It is I am a convener of the information, and you might even have people in your nonprofit tell the story. So, is there another way besides the person that is leading it, writing the story? Is there a way that many people can contribute to that story?
Ken Rochon: There is but before I answer that if I may add. I would like to share the formula of what marketing is and what marketing is not, in a variable. So, if you take a nonprofit for what it is by itself, it is considered, let us call it a C content or it is S a solution. It does not really matter what we name it but it is one variable and it is an entity of zero impact as just an idea. It is an idea of what can happen to make a difference. Is that correct?
Hugh Ballou: Yes.
Ken Rochon: The other variable that is typically missing is distribution or marketing. So let’s say C and D. C is the nonprofit called content, and D is a distribution. If you consider content at level 10, meaning that their heartstrings are going, the mention is solid. They wrote the business plan. I mean, everything makes sense, but distribution is zero or one, that is called a secret.
Now to your point, spending money on distribution when it is not founded. In other words, you are not going to get an ROI or you are not going to get all your money is worth on an investment. But take it the other direction, if you have distribution as a mass but you do not have the content correctly distributed, meaning it is noise, you are going to have chaos, and there is not going to be any conversion. So, you have to balance the two beautifully. So, you have to have a strategic plan, and how you use the distribution, and you have to have a viable way to take that money and turn it into impacts to be sure that people invested it. This was a very good decision. Let us sign it to do it again.
The way I see it is, you have a book with tons of testimonials that say I was impacted by this nonprofit. I was impacted by their mission. I volunteered, and I saw first-hand, and I tied 10% of my time or 20% of my money or whatever it is, and I see this is the real deal, and we all know that nonprofits have expenses, but the ones that show up is, I guess, the most impact were the ones that spend the least amount on their inner circle operating cost in order to get a nice percentage of what they are actually putting towards the problem. But there is a great Ted Talk about this. If you paid a CEO of a nonprofit, let us say, a million dollars, and another CEO of a nonprofit only was paid $100,000 but the CEO that was paid $100,000, let us say they raised a million dollars, that is tenfold, right? But, let us say the person that you paid a million, he also did tenfold, and he raised ten million. Who was the better CEO? And so you spent an inordinate amount, more money on the CEO that was million… I am not talking about letting us spend more money, that is not my point. My point is that when you invest money correctly and you get a 10x, it is actually great to spend more money because then the problem is getting more funding to solve it.
Hugh Ballou: Your book – Go further into that.
Ken Rochon: Okay.
Hugh Ballou: Talking about the expanded, why, And talking about the impact, it has really expanded touch points for people. We tend to tell people about what we do and what they really need to know is, why we are doing it. And what the results are, right?
Ken Rochon: Hundred percent!
If you look at a book as a book, it really does not need to be done because that is called a bucket list. We have a book, if anyone wants you can go and read it. But a book that has 99% of the effort into what the book is going to do the impact the world with the story, the mission, the proof, the examples, the knowledge, the information, and how other people can support the mission by doing it in a microcosm level, you are starting to have the book actually become an ambassador at many, many prongs. So, the book that I have right here, I know that the audience can see, is called Dose of Hope. It is 800-page blocks. We are counting on this reaching roughly 20 million downloads, and that is because we have influencers like yourself and Hugh and we say, hey? When you do your story about Hope, and you tell how you impact the world with Hope, we would like you to share it with your entire audience of what happens when there are 500 different authors and share it with everybody. We got some people that we can share with 2 million people. We just had the lovely Rudy Ruettiger, the movie made about him, his life, and Notre Dame, he just signed it up. About 2 weeks ago, he was a story about us how he creates hope in the world, and I think you will agree that if there is anyone that has overcome a ton of struggles, as for struggles to get there in that field. But the second struggle, it took ten years for someone to actually believe that movie deserved to be made and it became the number 2 inspirational movie of all time. Rock is the only thing that beats it.
My point sharing that is that we are attracting those types of hope dealers, that is what we call – Hope Dealers. So that we can actually have people say, I mean, think about it, 20 million people that may have lost hope. We read about samples of Rudy, you, and all these other people, and they say you know what if you can do it? I can do it. If you got through what he got through Frank Shankwitz would get through, what he got through. If Rudy got through, I can do it because these people had challenges that may be even worse than the readers dealing with.
Hugh Ballou: Yeah, Frank was featured in our magazine.
Ken Rochon: I love Frank and Frank is in Does of Hope.
Hugh Ballou: That is right and we miss Frank. So, Ken, you have mentioned SPH. What is SPH?
Ken Rochon: That is miles per hour, and I did my doctorate in philosophy or in the power of SPH. I came up with roughly twenty-one attributes. I will just give you a couple of examples. But, if you count how many smiles we had when we were kids, some studies show 300 to 400 smiles a day, and as an adult, they dissipate because of the stress. They dissipate because we stop enjoying wonder. We stop actually thinking about gratitude. And, so the more we become hit like, the more you have companies like Apple and Southwest because those companies actually care about the experience of how many smiles per hour happened for the owners, for the stockbrokers, for the employees, for the pilots, for the consumer and what happens is you have something that is beautiful called retention.
No one wants to leave where they are happy – No one! And most people that compare a pay increase to leaving happiness, would not do it, and it is because of certainty. But I just say smiles per hour make you more attractive. They help you live longer. They give you more creativity. Your relationships are always better. So SPH is the most important facet of what is a nonprofit doing. And what are the vendors and the sponsors doing that help that SPH is as high as possible?
Hugh Ballou: Distribution – That is a real challenge. We are talking about print books. We are talking about kindle books. We are talking about eBooks. They are just delivered as PDFs. Are there other forms? And how do you get them distributed?
Ken Rochon: There is another form that we do audible and then there is one form that is kind of, I do not know what I would call it, it is just a different way of looking at it. We have partners that do languages. So, if you want your book in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian whatever. So that adds more distribution, obviously, if you have more languages. So, many books are cost prohibitive.
They are certainly wonderful to have at events when you can sign it and people want a piece of you, and they want to take it home, and I am still an advocate of holding a book. Plus if I can use a curse word for us old timers like it, then we are going to keep those things alive and a lot longer. But there is a study that eBooks actually help. It is like Vinyl, the eBook is so popular, and it is stopped getting popular now. The sales have really plateaued, and the sales for regular books are actually going up. So, it is very interesting that there is only so much you can do with me. If you look at your cell phone and you have 40,000 contacts in there, you have 10,000 products. Can you see them? You don’t remember who’s in there. You have to actually spend hours going through and hitting the directory. But if you have a book and you’ve used it on a regular basis, like I write index cards you. I still write index cards every day. I read about 10 index cards of people that. What’s their birthday? Have I talked to them in a long time? Do I want to work with them? A bunch of more, and it’s adding up to quite a large amount of index cards, but the point is I can cut them, and I can look for different dates, and it just helps me actually stay in touch way better than my phone does.
Hugh Ballou: Yeah. My wife and I read the same book. I’ll buy the kindle version. She buys the print version. I’ve read statistics about how popular print books still are, and there’s just an amazing number of books being published every year, on every topic. When you think about nonprofit private leaders were all maxed out, we’re all stressed. There’s too much to do. We’re underfunded. So even thinking about a book, how do we get it on our radar? It’s the cost prohibitive or is there a way that we could get a sponsor to help us create the book and the sponsor’s name could be on there? Let’s brainstorm a little bit about the possibility. How could somebody in the trenches say, “Oh, I want to do a book and rally a team around them to make it happen? Did you get some ideas?
Ken Rochon: Super Simple! This is deep and easy. Let me squeeze, as I say, right?
If you have a book in the back of the book, you have something called blank pages sometimes, and you can make each of those pages valued at something like $1000, maybe even $5000. And you go to the corporation, you say, Hey, this is just one more way we can get you out there. We are going to send this book out to 40,000 people. We are going to have a free download on our website. We are expecting potentially 100,000 people to download this. Would you like a page on the back of the book?
Your money to pay for that page, and the other three pages will actually pay for this project. Now, the wholesale of getting a book done is dramatically different than retail. The retail can be 30,000 to get a book done. If you have a publisher very much like us that we care about impact. We care about marketing. We care about distribution. All our focus is there and we already have spent a quarter million dollars on a book tour. We don’t have to spend that money to help a nonprofit, or have a book tour because we already have it. We are taking the book with us. My point in that is that it comes down to maybe a hard cost of $4000 or $5000 to put the book together. That’s formatting, a great book cover, editing, and printing some copies. That is how much it cost and with that said, it’s a free marketing system that when the eBook is created, you give it away like candy. By the way, it is more difficult for you to have someone read the book than it is for you to make money on the book.
Hugh Ballou: Yeah, I can imagine that.
Ken Rochon: When you have someone read the book, they’re doing you a favor, not the other way around.
Hugh Ballou: Yeah. I’m just thinking about how many nonprofits is gala season. Here we have galas and a whole bunch of people come. What if we went to a gala and everybody had a book at their placemat, sponsored by XYZ Company in the community, and it’s sitting at their place, a physical book, I mean what a powerful tool that could be from moving forward and inspiring people to donate, unless people think that you are splurging by spending a lot of money in the book. If you have a sponsor, then they know you’re not splurging so any other ideas? I just want to embrace…
Ken Rochon: Inclusion of everybody. So let’s say you have 100 or 200 or potentially even 500 people, it memorializes the book to say we’d like to acknowledge all these people, and they can be in the back of the book. All these people have allowed us to make a difference in the world. All those people are going to be happy to buy the book or share the book because they are part of the story. They are part of the legacy. So that’s a big distribution model right there.
Hugh Ballou: Absolutely!
Ken Rochon: I got one more for you. You make a book that’s a collector’s item, and a collector’s item has information or something that makes it like a coffee tale book. It is just gorgeous. And you say, Hey, I know that you’re donating $500 but you may not be aware of this, we have a collector’s item, a book, if you actually make it $750 or whatever the number is, you say we’re going to go ahead and ship this out. It’s a way of actually getting people to give more because they want something that they’re taking home and their name on the front cover, things like that. When you think about a name on the front cover, makes a difference for Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s means a lot to me because that’s how I lost my mom. Some people are very big about autism. There is countless nonprofits, as you know that they’re dealing with all kinds of problems around the world. Your name in that gold print or something where you made that donation – It is like you are living to make it a difference. It matters!
Hugh Ballou: It is a donor recognition for those special donors. That’s a brilliant idea! So, you could also do some print books, but also do print on demand, right?
Ken Rochon: Right! And if you said, Hey, if you want to have an extra copy for the office thing, what happens is you are actually advertising the nonprofit but you are also advertising your goodwill.
In this day and age, if your company is not making a difference in the community, and not making a difference in the world, it is questionable while you are in business. This world has enough problems right now. You better be solving one of them with your business.
Hugh Ballou: So what if you had these books in the waiting room for all the doctors and the dentist, and in your neighborhood, and people are reading at chiropractor while they are waiting?
Ken Rochon: Yeah. Exactly.
Hugh Ballou: Oh, man. Tell us about the Dose of Hope Project.
Ken Rochon: I did show it and I know that people can’t see it, but we would like to give it away to people. That is part of how we are hitting 20 million. We have some of the most fascinating people in this book. It is a Ted Talk and the premise and hypothesis of this Ted Talk is the people that have achieved the most in this world are typically people that have had to overcome the most, and are willing to be resilient, and have had the highest amount of hope that they can actually make it. So, they don’t quit. And so, with that gift of creating a who that they love, admire, and they want to share with the world, they get to share it with a purpose, and that purpose is illuminated when that who is achieved. So, if you think about someone that is a high school dropout. They may not have spent a lot of time or money invest in who they are. Would you agree with that?
Hugh Ballou: Yes.
Ken Rochon: And so you would not be too surprised if you asked the person. Hey, what are you doing with your life? Tell me about your purpose, and they go, I don’t give a… blank about that because they have not invested in who they are and enough to even say, I am going to give a reward to myself of a purpose. I found that the people we saw at CEO Space, the people we see who are in stages that are passionate, and making it a difference in the world, they have worked on who they are for a good part of their life, and they do not take it lightly. It is a very like their personal development investment might be a quarter of a million or it might be a million. They will do whatever it takes to make themselves the most impactful leader that they possibly can, inspirational back leader. That is why I want to honor these people. So, it is a $72,000 gift certificate that we bestow upon someone like yourself, Hugh. We say, Hey, this is going to reach 20 million people. We are going to promote and inspire your story for 2 years, and we will do this for any owner of a nonprofit. Anybody who’s CEO of the nonprofit, anyone who’s in the visionary of a nonprofit. We will let them in this book called Dose of Hope, absolutely for Free, because in a world where no one knows you, you exist solving problems, you are very frustrated. And in a world where everyone knows you are solving problems, you cannot be happy enough with all this what you are receiving, because you are a hero.
Hugh Ballou: I just get a bunch of ideas here when you talk. Your website is perfectpublishing.com. So when people go there, people watching can see it. But people on the podcast cannot. When people go to perfectpublishing, what do they see?
Ken Rochon: Well, they see the authors and all those authors have a bio, and they all connected to Amazon, all the published books for the most part, we give away free as eBooks, and we do this in the guise of Hey? If we give you an eBooks that you get to read for free, you do not have to make any investments to the author or perfectpublishing, would you be kind enough to write a review on Amazon if you find the book to be valuable, and so it is an integrity piece that we want our books to have impact. That is the number one thing you should be doing if you are doing a book. If you have a business and you are not creating clients, you should not be in business. Well, if you have a book and you are not create an impact, you should not do the book. So people need to think about what they are doing a book. How does this book solve a problem? How is this book going to penetrate and impact and inspire the world?
Hugh Ballou: Yeah, a lot of books on this website, too. So Ken Rochon, Perfect Publishing, has a heart of gold, has a system that creates gold, and it is a new paradigm for nonprofit leaders to talk about their impact to build your tribe of people who really believe and support you, and to award those high donors among lot of other things. So, Ken is there a contact page? I did not look on your website if people get a hold of you?
Ken Rochon: I actually give my cell number because I have not had any issue with that, and it is 202-701-0911 and if anyone text me that they want books, I’m happy to supply item, and then we have something if you want to speak to me because you have a nonprofit, and you want to get some advice on how to raise more money for your nonprofit? How to inspire people? How to get more volunteers. If you text, smile, to 202-335-5865, you will be given an opportunity to pick a time slot that works for you. I am here to amplify goodness. I have a keep smiling card, and you can share that in the back of the card, the number one thing it says the bottom is, we amplify goodness, and you know nonprofits that are my favorite people to serve.
Hugh Ballou: That is what it is about. We amplify goodness, what a brilliant…
Ken Rochon: One last point, I have this new idea, and it is only about a month old, as a matter of fact, is that movies have a ton of money thrown into them, so they can actually make a decent movie. Would you agree with that?
Hugh Ballou: Yeah.
Ken Rochon: Books do not!
I have a new idea that I want to explore, and I am playing around with this all the publishers. What if you went to another publisher and another publisher and another publisher and another marketer, and another marketer and another marketer, you said, Hey, I have this client. His name is Hugh Ballou. He wants to author this book, and this book is actually going to be something that will solve some real-world problems. The world problems are XYZ. I do not want to publish his book alone. I want it to actually have the highest impact possible, would you want to partner with me. All of our logos would be on the back. We are looking for two or three marketers and two or three publishing companies that we put in the back of the book. We all work together to give Hugh Ballou a highest chance possible to impact the world with this message. Ego drops and partnership collaboration goes through, and there is no publisher that I am aware of that co-publishes. We want to become co-publishers.
Hugh Ballou: That is a brilliant idea! So, Ken Rochon, changing the world, keep smiling. Thank you so much for being our guest on The Nonprofit Exchange today.
Ken Rochon: Thank you, Hugh. I have always loved you.
Hugh Ballou: Same to you.