12: How Giving Out Free Books Built His First 7-Figure Business with Nick Nanton

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My Guest: Nick Nanton

An Emmy Award-Winning Director and Producer, Nick Nanton, Esq., produces media and branded content for top thought leaders and media personalities around the world. Nick is a leading expert on branding and storytelling, and has authored more than two dozen best-selling books (including the Wall Street Journal best-seller StorySelling™) and produced and directed more than 50 documentaries, earning 5 Emmy wins and 18 nominations. Nick speaks to audiences internationally on the topics of branding, entertainment, media, business and storytelling at major universities and events.

Nick is also the CEO of DNA Media, and oversees a portfolio of companies with over 3000 clients in 36 countries. He is an award-winning director, producer and songwriter who has worked on everything from large scale events to television shows with the likes of Steve Forbes, Ivanka Trump, Sir Richard Branson, Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield (creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series), Michael Gerber and many more.

He has been featured in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Inc. Magazine, The New York Times, Entrepreneur® Magazine, Forbes, FastCompany, and has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX television affiliates across the country as well as on CNN,FOX News, CNBC, and MSNBC from coast to coast.

Nick is a member of the Florida Bar, a member of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Home to the EMMYs), Co-founder of The National Academy of Best-Selling Authors®, and serves on the Innovation Board of the XPRIZE Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing about “radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity” through incentivized competition, best known for it’s Ansari XPRIZE which incentivized the first private space flight and was the catalyst for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Nick also enjoys serving as an Elder at Orangewood Church, working with Young Life, Downtown Credo Orlando, Entrepreneurs International and rooting for the Florida Gators with his wife Kristina and their three children, Brock, Bowen and Addison.

Nick shares his journey to the big time, peppered with marketing wisdom on how to create media buzz and build a big time brand, even for small businesses and service providers. Nick shares his current struggle with selling and publishing the documentaries he produces as the media world shifts from the big networks to the micro, while the audiences still value the big guys more – and producers are caught in the middle.

Pivotal Moments:

Absorbing his parents unspoken and spoken message: “You can get anything you want, as long as you work for it – we are not going to give it to you.”
At 12-13 years old he wanted to play tennis at the Olympics, then realized that instead of just playing tennis, he can teach other kids tennis and charge $10/hour for it.
Nick was ignored by an entertainment lawyer on his journey to be a musician. 15 years later he met the guy and asked, “Why didn’t you give me a chance?”

At 22, Nick started his first official business, and met his business mentor and partner who is 30 years his senior.

Nick offered to volunteer as a helper to expert trying to get published in McGraw Hill. Watched and learnt all the tricks, and his first book made it onto 7 best seller lists
Reached out to Chambers of Commerce and local networking groups and offered to speak for free, and distribute free copies of his book if the audience would be allowed to book his services – that’s how he built a 7-figure business.

The Advice:

Business is about an exchange of value in the value equation – as soon as you can provide value you will get paid for it.
Anyone who doesn’t credit luck for some of their success is delusional.
Fabric is not worth the same as clothing – use the raw materials to do the best you can do with them to provide value.
There is a fine line between brilliant and bankrupt – the tension in business is so critical. You can only relax in a hammock if it is pulled tight.

The Struggle:

There is a big shift in the business of selling movies and documentaries, Nick’s current main business, and he has found himself in a purgatory between old and new model. Used to be you produce a film and then shop it around to the various networks to sell the rights. Now, the big networks are much more hesitant to invest and the smaller networks still don’t have the same credibility, audience volume – or budgets – to purchase the caliber of film Nick is producing.

The Breakthrough:

Nick already funds his films by having private investors for the creation. He is currently choosing between continuing with the old model of selling his films to the major networks (like NBC, ABC, FOX) or New Major Networks (Amazon, Netflix), and creating his own brand and channel. Nick knows he will probably have to move toward the personal branding model, as that’s where the world is going (think Tony Robbins, Gary Vee) and he already has his own cable channel, the success network.


“Do something for other people and you’ll always get back more than you put in.”

Resources and Links:

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About the author, Estie Rand

I love turning ideas into money, and helping others do the same. I help small business owners with everything from marketing to fiscal management, business plans to staffing, database architecture to work/life balance coaching and I love it all! What do you need help with today?

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