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What Scott has created at Live Your Legend is mind-boggling. He creates inspiration, the challenge to dream big and bold, and the tools to make all that a reality. But most unbelievable is the community he's developed of people who are passionate about doing something great, and helping each other achieve that."

- Leo Babauta, Creator of ZenHabits

The Start-A-Blog Challenge Begins Today! Free 7-day Dream Job Writing Course + Video Tutorial: Start Your Blog in Under 10 Minutes (with Zero Tech Experience)

How to start a blog in 10 minutes with zero tech experience

“There’s one thing that separates writers from everyone else. They write. ” 

- Unknown

I have fun news. The LYL Start-A-Blog Challenge is back & starts now! Plus, I created a free writing course, just for you…

I believe a blog is hands-down the most powerful passion-discovery and career-transition tool on the planet.

When I consider everything I’ve done in the past decade to learn about myself, build a career and make a difference, nothing has been more powerful than my decision to start a blog and adopt a daily writing, reflection and discovery habit. Nothing else even comes close.

My first blog led to me finding my life’s work, build a thriving global business, getting invited to give a TEDx talk that’s gotten over 1.7 million views, launching local LYL communities in 150 cities in 48 countries and getting the chance to have a bigger impact with my work than I ever dreamed.

It all started with my routine writing habit.

The scary thing is I had put it off for years – and I know so many people who continue to put it off.

Well, the procrastination ends today. I want to remove every barrier and excuse to get you creating your blog, learning to write and sharing your work. 

Last year over 300 LYLers started a blog and became writers during our challenge, and many of them have told me directly that it was the most game-changing thing they did the whole year. So I have no choice but to do it again. :)

Here’s what you need to know & how to participate:

  1. The goal of the Start-A-Blog Challenge is to get you to finally start writing and publishing your ideas
  2. I’ve created a free 7-day email course to help you build a blog and successful writing habit in 10-20 minutes a day, and share my favorite tools and process (I’ll also share how I built the LYL blog into a multiple 6-figure business)
  3. I created a video tutorial on How to Start a Blog Under 10 Minutes with Zero Tech Experience
  4. We have a free private writer’s community for built-in accountability (with over 1,500 members)
  5. You must click here to add your email to participate

IMPORTANT: In order to participate in the challenge, and access the free 7-day mini email series, writing course and all of the above, you must add your email by clicking this link.

Everything you need for starting your blog and participating in the challenge will be provided at the link above.

Also realize that the real benefit in participating in our Start-A-Blog Challenge will come from what you learn about yourself through consistent writing and sharing your ideas, which means that everyone who participates will win. And you’ll win big. That’s the fun part!

I know many of you have held off on this for years for all kinds of reasons. I hope this finally inspires you to take a stand and publish something. The world is waiting.

Read on for details and why writing (and a blog) completely transformed my career, or just click here to join us for the challenge!

*****

Writing has made me who I am.

In 2003, while sitting at a small café in Sevilla, Spain (where I was living at the time), I picked up my first journal and began to write.

From that moment, my ideas started to take on a new life.

My conversations changed.

My thinking began to develop on a totally different level.

I’m not sure why I decided to write that first line, but I do know that ripple started a trend of experiments and discoveries that slowly took over my world. From there everything began to change.

Those first journal entries lead to discovering an online platform to do the same – a blog.

That little blog experiment turned into what Live Your Legend is today.

None of it would have existed without putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys).

Experiment and discovery is at the heart of the LYL way of life, so today, I want to share the most powerful tool I’ve found for learning about myself and discovering and developing my passions. It’s also the perfect way to learn to think like – and become – an entrepreneur.

Here’s why a blog is so damn powerful…

Writing Leads to Opportunity

A blog is simply the easiest way available for publishing ideas on the Internet for others to see. It encourages you to get ideas out of your head and into the world, which then allows you to further develop them and give you a chance to showcase those thoughts as well as your passions and talents to others. And when you do that, interesting things start to happen.

That’s exactly how LYL came to be. I started a blog as a fun experiment seven years ago. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had ideas I wanted to share. Over time, as my thinking, writing and passions developed, I was able to realize the way I really wanted to help people. LYL was born.

Developing your writing also happens to be one of the best ways for learning how to communicate, process thoughts and ideas, stay accountable to big plans and life changes, build an audience, develop your persuasion skills and to simply become a more interesting citizen of the world.

Daily writing is one of the most powerful habits I’ve developed in the history of my career.

And SO many of you ask about how and when and how to start a blog. Today, I have the answer. 

When is the best time? To be honest, a long time ago.

When’s the second best time? Right now. :)

With today’s tools you can be up and running in literally less than 10 minutes, even if you have ZERO tech experience. And depending on what option you choose, it can be free or cost less than a latte a month. And you’ll love the confidence that comes with knowing you set up your own site on the web. It’s fun!

If you’re serious about living your legend, it’s something you can’t not do.

Now, it’s time for action.

**

Remember: In order to participate in the challenge and access the free 7-day dream job writing course, you must add your email by clicking this link. You’ll be given all the instructions you need after joining.

**

How to Start a Blog (& Publish a Post) in Less than 10 Minutes with Zero Tech Experience: 

Note: The instructions below are intentionally very, very simple to get you up and running with a totally basic WordPress blog so you can start publishing ideas ASAP.

There are about a million other decisions you could (and eventually probably will) make regarding your blog or site. Please do not worry about that today. All that matters is getting something published. Don’t worry about how it looks. Today is about creating your sandbox and starting to play a little. Landscaping (and other excuses for being afraid of getting a little dirty) can be addressed later.

For the more advanced folks who already have a blog, this is your next step: The 4 Pillars to Starting a Blog that Actually Matters (& grow it by 160x in 2 years). But if you don’t have a blog yet, just follow the steps below. It will be much quicker and simpler. 

1. Sign up for the most basic website hosting account at Bluehost.

*To make this as easy as possible, see the video I recorded at the end of this step that walks you through setting up a blog and publishing your first post in under 10 minutes.

I fully endorse Bluehost. I am a proud affiliate partner of theirs (and LYL readers get a special 20% discount from the public price – discount already included in each of these Bluehost links), and it’s where all our domains live. I’ve tried a lot of hosts in the past, and this is by far the best discount option available based on my personal experience and that of the people I respect online.

They’ve also been a top recommended web host by WordPress since 2005. All you need is the most basic option, which comes with a free domain (website address) of your choosing. The only add-on you might want is Domain WHOIS Privacy ($9.95/yr), which keeps your personal information from being made public on your site.

You do not need any of the other add-ons or up-sells, such as Site Lock or Site Backup. All of that can be sorted out later. We want to keep this as simple as possible!

One reason we love Bluehost is because their customer support is awesome. If you’re unsure of what to do, just start up a chat session with their support team and they’ll get your issues sorted out.

Here’s the link to set up your site on Bluehost and get the special LYL 20% off discount.

A few clarifying points:

  • This Bluehost setup will run you about the cost of one latte a month. To get the lowest monthly price of $3.95, you will pay for the first couple years in advance. The month-to-month cost is still only the price of about two lattes. It’s a pretty small investment for finally getting traction on what makes you come alive. There are also some totally free options through sites like Blogger or Tumblr, although to be honest, I don’t really recommend those since you have much less control and won’t actually own the website (and I don’t have any personal experience with them). So if you go that route and decide to take your blog and site more seriously in the future, they can be a total pain in the ass to switch to something like the Bluehost option. You will also have a ton more resources and options available through the slightly less than free option we suggest. And you have the added motivation that when you pay for something (no matter how small), you become WAY more committed to getting use out of it than if it were free. That’s no small point. It’s your call, though.
  • Since we’re an affiliate of Bluehost, we will get a small commission if you decide to use them (although, due to our partnership with them, the price is actually 20% less for you). As I hope you know by now, we only recommend things that we believe will genuinely help you live your legend. I don’t care where you set up your blog as long as you get something live and start writing. But if you do sign up through our Bluehost link, thanks for your support! And if you’d rather not use our affiliate link (and pay the public price) you’re welcome to use this Bluehost link instead.
  • Due to the increased traffic and complexity of Live Your Legend, we host it on a more robust platform via WP Engine (which I LOVE), but at $99+ per month, that is definitely not the option you need to begin.

Step #1: Watch this simple video to walk you through every step of the process in under 10 minutes…

Don’t see a video? Click here

Step #2: Click here to get a Bluehost WordPress blog at the discounted Live Your Legend partnership pricing (20% off the public price).

For the rest of the detailed written steps, read below (but the video above should be all you need):

3. Pick your blog name (called a URL or domain name).

This is part of the sign-up process through Bluehost in Step #1. When you sign up for basic hosting, you get a website name for free.

Keep it simple. Don’t hold off just because you can’t come up with some brilliant name. Using your first and last name (or a similar rendition) is fine and might even be better since you might not know the specific niche you want to focus on. You’ll be free to cover whatever topics you choose. Using your name can also allow the site to serve as a simple online resume if nothing else, and it helps with your name’s Google rankings.

4. Set up WordPress on your new site (or better yet, have Bluehost do it for you for free).

I cover all of this in the above video, but once you’ve purchased your hosting/domain, you are ready to install WordPress, which will allow you to edit and update your site without needing to do anything technical. Most every blog on the planet from LYL to ZenHabits to The 4-Hour Work Week are all run on WordPress.

Installing/setting up the very basic version of WordPress on a new Bluehost account is a pretty straightforward process. But I’m always a fan of having customer support do it for me. They should be happy to set it up. Just tell them something like, “Hey, I’m excited to get started with my blog. A big reason I chose Bluehost is because I’m not technical, and I heard you guys could get WordPress installed for me super fast. Could you please install WordPress on my new site so I can get started publishing content? Thanks so much!”

If you stall out on any of these steps, be sure to watch my video above. That should clear it all up. And you can always search Google or YouTube for other video tutorials on setting this stuff up, but again, that’s what customer support is there for. They love helping new clients.

5. Write consistently.

Do it daily or weekly. Ideally, make it happen first thing in the morning. Start with one sentence. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, but any time you get an idea that excites you or notice something on your mind, open up your computer and get it out there. Treat this as your online journal of sorts. Write about what fires you up or catches your interest. Developing your writing is a priceless skill, and the refinement of ideas that will result is magical.

If a passion or idea doesn’t have room to breathe, it will die.

6. See what happens.

My favorite part!

None of this would be here without a blog.

Seven years ago, I built my first blog without even knowing it. It started as an experiment to see if a guy who didn’t know a thing about technology could start a website.

It worked.

The site was hideous, but I was damn proud of it - I loved it. The focus of Reading for Your Success initially was writing book summaries and recommendations on all the personal development books I was reading. I had no intention of turning it into a business, let alone its own movement. I didn’t even know that was a possibility.

Most importantly, it was an outlet for me to explore my ideas and what actually mattered to me. At first my writing absolutely sucked (the posts are still in this site’s archives if you really want to see them, but I’d rather you didn’t.)  ;)

Over time, I learned what topics made my heart race and what seemed to connect with others. Knowing people were watching (even if only my parents and girlfriend at first) motivated me to continue to learn and grow.

An audience naturally makes us want to get better.

Before long, more and more people were asking for help on different fun things, especially related to quitting a keyboard-pounding job and doing work that mattered. One thing led to the next (i.e. I worked my ass off), the community grew along with my passion, and then Reading For Your Success eventually became Live Your Legend. Those three initial members of the community turned into tens of thousands.

The site and topics started to become my personal brand. A brand I was proud of. One I believed in.

That brand turned into a career.

People had a reason to come to me, and a specific way they wanted help. And I absolutely loved helping them.

The confidence and conviction that came with it were priceless.

As an LYLer by the name of Libby highlighted in our recent post…

“Even on the smallest scale, as you start to act in a way that’s congruent to what matters to you, you begin to notice more and more actions following suit. People start to pay attention. You and those around you begin to expect it from you. So you continue to show up in a bigger way. Before long, the only actions you take are ones deeply rooted in the difference you want to make.”

But building a business and movement is not why I started. If it was, I would have given up long ago.

I started because I was pursuing something that I thought might interest me. That continued for four years of exploring and refining, without any publicly visible progress. I kept at it because I’d found an outlet for focusing and honing the impact I wanted to have. And it was published in a place the whole world could see, if they decided to look.

Momentum is a powerful thing.

Once a snowball starts rolling, it become difficult to stop.

Give your ideas a place to grow and transform, and you might be surprised where they take you.

Actually, I know you will - and that’s the most exciting part of all!

It’s about time you get those ideas out of your head and share them with the world.

Serendipity is waiting,

-Scott

Now it’s time to take some action. I want to see how many blogs we can start or revive in the next week (before October 1st)!  

  1. Join our Start A Blog Challenge & free 7-day email course and private writing community here. Do it right now.
  2. Start your blog. Visit Bluehost, click the green button and take 10 minutes (your 20% discount is already included on the linked page).
  3. Write your first post. Anything goes, no matter how short or simple.
  4. Tell a few people and follow the steps above. And have some fun!
Time to get creative!

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How to Become a Main Stage TED Speaker: Interview with TED Content Director Kelly Stoetzel

TED Kelly Stoetzel and Chris Anderson

Stepping Onto the World’s Stage

Most of you probably already know my obsession with TED. Their 1,700+ free videos from the smartest, most talented, influential, creative and crazy people in the world provide more useful education and inspiration than just about anything else I’ve found on the Internet. To date their talks have been watched well over 1 billion times.

Over the past few decades the TED stage has become one of the most prestigious on the planet. Those who share their ideas in front of that crowd often immediately rocket to the top of their industry. And even their independently organized TEDx events can create a ripple of their own.

To date, by far the most powerful single thing I’ve done for our LYL movement and my career was to stand on the TEDx stage in San Francisco and give my talk on How to Find & Do Work You Love (that’s somehow gotten over 1.7 million views and ranks top 20 of over 40k TEDx talks). I could have given a thousand non-TED-related talks, and I doubt it would have had even close to the same impact. And to prepare - of course – I watched dozens of my favorite top talks.

If you’re looking to change the world (or simply have your idea heard), there’s probably no better venue than TED.

So today we’re going to learn how to get on the main stage - directly from the person who chooses TED’s speakers…

While most people have heard of TED, odds are you haven’t heard the name Kelly Stoetzel.

Neither had I, until I attended my first live TEDActive Conference for their 2014 30-year anniversary (#mindblown). She and her co-host Reeves were the emcees for the week.

So why is Kelly such a big deal? Well, she’s the Content Director at TED. This means is she and her team are directly in charge of finding, vetting, choosing and training the annual TED Conference main stage speakers. Talk about responsibility – and a dream career!

The best part is that she started out as a camp counselor (which she claims as her most important job), became an art gallery director and then moved to trial evidence presenter – all of which lead her to one of the coolest and most under-the-radar influential jobs in the world.

But as I got to know her, what piqued my interest even more was her passion for spreading ideas and possibility to kids. Her biggest passion project is TEDYouth, where over 100 youth events are held around the world on the same day to show kids what’s possible and help them find the career paths they are meant to pursue. Amen to that! (2014 TEDYouth is on November 15 – get involved or access the free live stream here.)

Needless to say, I can’t wait for you to watch this interview, where she covered the ins and outs of TED and TEDYouth.

In this video we’ll cover: 

  • How TED finds and chooses their main stage speakers
  • The TED speaker training “un-formula”
  • Top 80/20 tips for giving a TED-worthy talk and killing the nerves
  • What not to do and how to avoid giving a talk that bombs
  • How she connected with TED owner Chris Anderson
  • How TEDYouth is changing the future of kids’ educations
  • The importance of career “steps” and trying many different careers
  • How Kelly handles being an introvert while hosting events for hundreds of the world’s most influential people
  • One question to help identify the impact you want to have on the world
  • And a lot more…

See below the video for the audio mp3 download and detailed time-stamped notes.

Enjoy!

How to Become a Main Stage TED Speaker (and other really good speaking advice): Interview with Kelly Stoetzel, TED Content Director

Don’t see a video? Click here.

Download the audio version mp3 file here.

Detailed time-stamped interview notes:

  • 1:56 Defining the TED Why
  • 2:45 The TED & TEDx secret: The talks are only the tip of the iceberg
  • 4:30 The curious career path that took Kelly from camp counselor to picking TED main stage speakers
  • 4:45 Why “Camp Counselor” was Kelly’s most import career step leading her to TED
  • 7:10 Her simple strategy for building a genuine connection (and getting a job) with Chris Anderson, the leader and owner of TED
  • 8:50 Explains her all-powerful role of finding and choosing TED speakers
  • 9:20 The fear that comes with choosing and inviting the right speakers
  • 9:50 Her speaker-finding process to identify the gems among 10,000+ candidates
  • 11:40 TED speaker training process and the “un-formula”
  • 12:10 The initial vetting and interview process
  • 12:45 Kelly’s first key to killing nerves and creating the environment for a world-changing talk
  • 13:10 The importance of curating the right audience and its effect on the speaker
  • 13:40 Top advice for dealing with stage fright, killing nerves and building confidence
  • 15:00 The importance of the “Power Pose”
  • 15:25 Nailing eye contact and how to not do it
  • 15:55 A simple reframe to take the majority of the pressure off the speaker
  • 16:20 The mindset for creating the most compelling slides and visuals
  • 16:50 Every single thing you do as a speaker comes back to one cardinal rule
  • 17:15 Learning from the ultimate talent search – 14 countries, 3 months, 293 speakers and what it taught TED about speaking
  • 18:40 How Kelly handles being an introvert while hosting events for hundreds of people and avoiding panic attacks
  • 19:15 Battling the speaker’s worst enemy
  • 19:30 The key to being an engaging host or emcee
  • 20:15 How to simply communicate incredibly complex topics
  • 21:15 How TED decides the length of a talk
  • 21:30 The 80/20 guidelines for presenting a TEDx talk that’s worthy of the TED main stage
  • 22:15 Avoiding the risks of memorized talks and two methods for knowing your talk is prepared enough
  • 24:00 Nailing your one idea and what makes an idea TED-worthy
  • 25:20 What not to do and how to avoid giving a talk that bombs
  • 26:15 The one word that makes speakers seem like they have a huge ego
  • 27:00 The process for choosing the TEDx talks that make it onto TED.com
  • 27:20 Tips for speakers to have the best chance of their talk ending up on TED
  • 28:00 For TEDx organizers: 2 crucial tips for getting your talks on TED.com
  • 29:40 The story behind TEDYouth – Kelly’s real passion and what it’s all about
  • 31:10 How TEDYouth is visibly changing the future of education and dream career potential for kids
  • 33:25 Advice for choosing the right career path and finding and doing what she loves
  • 35:40 Why the underlying (and often hidden) skill set of a job is often more important than the job itself
  • 36:00 Warren Buffett’s top career advice
  • 36:25 How to support and become a part of TEDYouth
  • 37:30 The pride of having a 10-year-old daughter as a 3-time TEDx organizer and host
  • 38:20 Kelly’s rather odd TED speaking topic if she had to take the stage today
  • 39:00 One question to help identify the impact you want to have on the world

So… what TED Talk would you give if you had the chance?

It’s a question I asked myself for years. And it eventually led right here.

Give it some thought and tell us in the comments. And if you have speaking questions or advice, please share those as well!

A huge thanks to Kelly and the team at TED for the impact you’re having! I’m so grateful.

And be sure to check out TEDYouth, apply for a free ticket, and see how you can get involved either with their main event in New York or the 100+ around the world. All the talks will also be live streamed for free.

Here’s to taking the stage that can change everything…

-Scott

P.S. Keep an eye out for our annual Start a Blog Challenge coming soon too. Without a blog, LYL wouldn’t exist, and I certainly never would have been asked to speak at TEDx. Get ready for some fun. :)

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