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SPS-418: Setting Goals and Building Habits – with Marc Reklau

Marc Reklau used to work in a book printer watching thousands of books get made. It was only when he got fired after ten years that he decided to write his own eBooks, and has since passed a million dollars in earnings. He attributes that success to the SPF courses, Launchpad and Ads for Authors.

It was when he actually applied the same self-help strategies he wrote about in his books to his own writing business that he started seeing the life-changing effects he’d hoped for. But it hasn’t all been straight sailing. He pulled his books out of Kindle Unlimited because Amazon unexpectedly closed his account, and now publishes wide.

Tune into this week’s episode of the Self Publishing Show to hear more from Marc, including how goal setting works, using positivity to encourage personal development, why some of his habit-based content is a recurring feature across different topics, and why authors shouldn’t overlook the Spanish-reading US market.

Show Notes

  • Mark’s sucess story.
  • Reader demographics and markets.
  • The self help genre and writing for it.
  • Mark’s teachings.
  • The benefit of Amazon ads.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

SPS LIVE: Get your digital tickets here

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Setting Goals and Building Habits – with Marc Reklau
Speaker 1: This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Mark Reklau. Welcome back to the Self-Publishing Show. Anyone who's been to the Self-Publishing Show Live will be very familiar with your story. And you have been on the podcast before I even visited you when you were living on a boat in Barcelona, but you really are quite an inspiring author, I think, for the indie community.

And so it's time to get you back on because I think you've just passed a decent milestone, have you not?

Mark Reklau: Yep, I've passed a million bucks, my friends. That's amazing. And I always say it without the course at the advertising for authors course, this would not have happened. So your life has changed a lot in the last five years since I took the course. Four years since we met on my boat, when I, I think I was at $5,000 and I said, I can reach 10,000. I just have to make more ads and I have to, we

James Blatch: More. And it happened, we should say that's a month, 5,000 and 10,000 a month you're talking about there. But that is fantastic and you are a powerhouse.

We should tell people what you write.

Mark Reklau: Yeah, I write self-help how to, so it's easy for me. I just have to do what I write about. And then success is guaranteed. Right.

James Blatch: And they're very popular. Your books obviously, as people can tell, and you are German by your nationality. You were living in Spain at the time, you're now living in Hungary.

You're a true European citizen, citizen of the world. But who are buying your books? What nations are doing the best sales most in

Mark Reklau: The us? I think 70% of sales are in the us but the great thing is that of the 70%, I think 60% are in Spanish. So the Spanish, my Spanish Latino American readers in the US and in South America really have made my day.

James Blatch: Oh, that's interesting. So Spanish speakers in the US buying your books.

Mark Reklau: Yeah, right now the UK is coming. The UK has discovered me. So that's nice also to see. And yeah, just trying to do my ads everywhere. And it's very funny because I'm not standing out in any market, but when I add everything up, then I'm making a pretty decent life. So yeah,

James Blatch: I think that's a good takeaway actually for people. I dunno how many people focus on Spanish speaking market in the US because you tend to market Spanish speaking countries, but of course anyone who's been to the US knows Spanish is widely spoken and there's a market there.

Mark Reklau: There's a huge market there. And I can tell you, I know it's because of ads because before two 19 when I couldn't advertise Spanish books there I sold zero and now it's like half of my income. So yeah, it's definitely worth it. I don't know, in the fiction area, that might be a little bit different. I am lucky with nonfiction, the Latinos are very hungry for nonfiction, for self-help, for personal development. So that's playing at my advantage, let's say it like that. Yeah.

James Blatch: And what ads are you running?

Mark Reklau: Amazon ads? Still not. I started Facebook ads thanks to our friend Steve Pixel, who did also a fantastic presentation on the online course or online conference and it's working, but I have to put more money into it probably. I'm still a little bit defensive.

James Blatch: So you've built this business on the back of Amazon ads

Mark Reklau: And I also think Amazon ads are getting better and better. I mean, I have no data or something, it's just a feeling and intuition from what I see that suddenly my ads are doing very well again. So I think yeah, they're getting better and better with the AI stuff.

James Blatch: Yeah. Well we'll revisit that in a moment, but let's go back to the beginning.

So where were you before you started publishing these books? Mark, what was your career and how did it change?

Mark Reklau: My career was I studied a career that I didn't like to work in, a chop that I hated and a chop that I hated was funny in a book printer, which I had nothing to do with, but now later if I look back now, it helps me a lot because I mean, I had a thousand projects going over my table every year. I saw covers, I saw how books are made at the end, but it was not my dream job. And then after 10 years I got fired and then I started writing eBooks. That was my revenge on the paper publisher. But then with time changes on Amazon, so in the beginning I was also selling like 70% were eBooks back in 2 15, 2 16, and then suddenly it changed and now I'm selling 75% paperback brand on demand with Amazon, which is also fantastic.

James Blatch: Wow.

And what prompted the move into self-help books? I mean the type of books you read.

Mark Reklau: Yeah, I've been reading self-help books since I was 16 years old. Complicated youth, maybe childhood, not childhood, but anyhow, you just get into it and I always was wondering what is there something else? It can't be that just like every weekend, I don't know, hanging around. So I read it a lot. And then I did a coaching training and 200 hours coaching training in 2012. And there I saw suddenly all these things that I read in self-help books over the years came back, but it was a little bit more science behind it. So the science had caught up with all the woowoo stuff of a self-help book in the 1980s or so. And then I saw also, and that was the initial spot for my book, 30 days. There are habits and if you do them, they work. And then I looked at successful people and I saw they're all doing the same things.

For example, they're setting goals. I never set goals even if I read the books. So that was another thing. I read the self-help books when I was not doing well, then I was feeling better than I stopped reading them, stopped doing the exercises. And then I also said, what if I would do these exercises also when I'm doing well to the goal setting, to the gratitude, to the one hour walk and everything. And then I noticed that it brought huge benefits to my life and success. So success, first of all, success is something else for every person, but if you want to become successful in something, there are people who have walked that way before and then you follow their steps and you do the things they do and then you can become successful. It's not easy, it's not quick. So that was something in the FEL books, the earlier fel books, they always still said, yeah, it's a process, it takes time.

And then somehow there was a change and suddenly everything was get quick, rich, get quick, get that quick. And now I think we are going back to the real thing with James Clear's atomic habit, which really says no, it takes time. And it's like really the most important habit is consistency. And if you do something every day for an hour or two hour over a certain time, you will become successful. So I actually would say if I would play golf every day, three hours in two years, I would be a decent golf player because it's just so talent is overrated, talent is something, but it's more important to be consistent and to do stuff over and over again. And that was the idea behind 30 days to collect all these little exercises that can make our life a little bit better, a little bit easier, a little bit happier over

James Blatch: Time.

So was that your first book, is it 30 days? That was my first book to Change Your Life, is that the title?

Mark Reklau: 30 Days, change Your Habits, change Your Life. I call it 30 days. So it has nothing to do because the experts are discussing if a habit takes 21 days to form or 30 or 66 or 180, I would say it depends on the habit and the person. So when the title, most of the habits, I think in 30 days, if you do something 30 days, it becomes a habit. Some habits will come easier and some will take a little longer. But let's say, and that's why I chose the title 30 days also because it's a nice title. If I would've called it a hundred days, it probably wouldn't sell so well. So 30 days was like

James Blatch: You haven't got time for a hundred days. And you mentioned in passing a couple of the sort of habits that form part of a successful life. One I think was gratitude. The other one was walking and there was another one as well. Can you just goal

Mark Reklau: Setting, for example,

James Blatch: Goal setting. Goal setting, okay.

Mark Reklau: It's huge. I never did goal setting because I think I didn't goal set because I was afraid because when you set a goal, suddenly you can measure against something and then sometimes we become afraid of failure or we can't make it, but we don't see when you have a goal where you're going, and then at the end it doesn't matter if you set a one year goal. So for example, I set many one year goals. I don't reach them in a year, but maybe I reach them in two years. So that it's not important to reach the time, it's important to reach it and it's important to the process that you go through on your way to the goal. So goal setting is a huge thing. And as a practise of the coaching training in 2012, that was the first time I had to set my goals for 10 years and I had nothing.

I was unhappy in my job, unhappy in my relationship, but I wrote, it's like, okay, write down what you want, not what you think that is possible, but what you would like to have in 10 years. And I wrote down the goals and I really, I wrote, I want a boat, I want a Porsche, I want one book, one book. I thought, and then after 10 years, I nearly reached all those goals and I had 20 books. I had my boat, I sold it again, I don't want to Porsche anymore. If I wouldn't buy it, I would lease it, things like that. But you see, and it was amazing to say, wow, I really achieved most of that, what I said in 10 years. And at that moment when I set the goal, it was impossible. So say that, what does that say for us? We can set 10 years is a long time and we tend to overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in 10 years. So that's another one of those things.

James Blatch: Yeah.

And is there a difference between targets and goals? I seem to remember from James Clear's book, it's been a couple of years since I read it, but he sort of urged people not to set targets, but to form habits.

Mark Reklau: Yeah, I mean that's the thing. So on the way to your goal, you form the habits. So he's right. I still like goal setting because it works for me then. But the thing is that, so you have your goals in 10 years I want to write 10 books, and then you cut it down in smaller goals. What do you do have to do today? If you want to have 10 books in 10 years, so you have to write a book a year. So that means how maybe it comes down to today you have to write two or 3000 words and you have to do that for 30 or 60 days. And then you have already the beginning of a book like that. The idea is to set your goals, but then turn it down to habits, to daily habits. I have to say I have 10 year goals, I have five year goals, I have one year goals, but my most important goals are my, it's what I do every day. And those are the habits that I have to do that will bring me to my goals.

James Blatch: The one thing I do remember from James Clear was saying that for instance, if you want to be an author, if you start writing, you are an author. And the moment you do that, and conversely, if you want to be an author but you're not writing, then you are not an author. So you are what you are doing and you don't have to have 10 published books before. You can call yourself an author. You are an author. The moment you sit down and start writing a book, because that's what authors do. So you can control. It's a simple thing that says you can control who you are and what you do

Mark Reklau: Exactly become the person you want to be. So a little tricks like what? So sometimes I'm a little bit unproductive and then I could tell myself, but if I want to get where I want, maybe that's now 2 million bucks or whatever, which, what person do I have to be? Not the one that's lying on the sofa and doing nothing, no. Then I have to be the person who sits down and writes 2000 words a day. So yeah, there's a lot to do how we see ourselves, and it's incredible because it's also in the field of self-esteem, how we see ourselves is practically more important than how others see us because we become how we see ourselves. And so we have to see ourselves also well and very interesting. I am loving it that it's coming more and more. So James clearly did a huge favour for everybody in self-development because it brought it to a huge mass. I mean, the guy I think sold 15 million books or whatever, and people get more aware. I think also with Covid and something that there's more to life and that we really can become the person we want to become. It won't be easy, but

There is always a way.

James Blatch: You mentioned going for a walk as well. Is that part of your daily routine?

Mark Reklau: Yes, that's a huge part. I mean, it's not only healthy, it's lots of health benefits, but it also clears my mind and I get good ideas when I'm walking around and I'm just doing it because I don't like the gym. I don't like working out, so I have to do something at least to do, I don't know if you can call it exercise, walking around in one hour, but it's okay.

James Blatch: Yeah. Well, for a man who went to Vegas and lost weight, you're doing pretty well on the health side.

Mark Reklau: That's it. Yeah.

James Blatch: I dunno how you did that. The portion services,

Mark Reklau: Exercises. I mean, in Vegas I was not hungry. I didn't like the food except the super food in the super restaurant. But I have to say also in Vegas, I walked 25,000 steps a day because it was always like, oh wow, there's the looks or let's go there. And oh, there's the other hotel and only in the hotels you already make 5,000 steps just walking around the hotel. So that helped

James Blatch: Again from the bedroom to the exit. Yeah. So you are to write books. I mean, it's interesting that I understand completely from a fiction author's point of view. You are as good as your last book type thing and your best marketing thing is your next book, but that works in nonfiction as well, even though yours is that you could look at 30 days to change your life, change your habits, change your life as being an all-encompassing book. That's the only one you'll ever need.

But you are basically, are you rewriting more or less the same messaging in each book? Because from a marketing point of view, you need to keep putting out books.

Mark Reklau: Yeah, that's what my critics say. My critics say I have written 13 times the same book. I say I have 13 books. The thing is, my excuse is of course, I mean, so in productivity you have habits, you have habits. If I write now a book how to become successful, there would be habits. And many of these habits are the same. So they are repeating. I try to rephrase and stuff and get another point of view on it, but if you want to say so yeah, my books are similar to each other. And you could really, I mean the problem for me is that 30 days is just so encompassing. It is really, like you said, it has everything. But then I would only have one book. So I wrote in 30 days you have chapters about productivity, about self-esteem, about self-confidence, a little bit about minimalism, a little bit about people, people relationships, but only a little bit.

And then I wrote the books. I have a whole book on self-esteem that of course researched very well. And there are some habits because they're just the same habits and this in my series, but it's for me getting difficult to writing more stuff because at the end, yeah, sooner or later I really have to say, okay, what else is there? Now I will write a book about money, and that's fun because also the science of getting rich, it's broadly, I would say 40% of the habits are the same habits that you need to be happy or to be productive because it's all intertwined. Or do you say that it's all together? You cannot say, okay, I write now a book on money habits. It will have self-esteem habits in there. There will be minimalism habits in there that will be, gratitude is everywhere because for me it's the most amazing thing.

James Blatch: Yeah,

gratitude was the other one I wanted to pick you up on. So what do you mean by that?

Mark Reklau: So gratitude. When I talk about gratitude, it means I practise gratitude daily, five or 10 minutes minimum. But sometimes the whole day when I'm just, I'm walking around, I think, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for everything, right? What's around me you usually do, you write down three to five things that you're grateful for every day. For example, my kitchen where I can cook good food, my back that connects me with the world to see you, my good friend, every now and then is also nice. These are things I'm grateful for today. And it brings you, it revises your brain, it makes you see more of the good things that are all around you. So you become happier and happier and it has a lot of scientifically proven benefits. Like you're less prone to depression, you feel better, you sleep better, you become more optimistic, which is very important for entrepreneurs or authorpreneurs also, you see more opportunities.

It makes you see opportunities when they come up so you can take them and all this is what credit does also, you can't be sad and grateful at the same time, and you can't be angry and grateful at the same time. You can't be envy people and be grateful at the same time. So it's an antidote to all these lesser vibe emotions and it's an exit. So you don't have to be happy all the time. I have bad days, but I know I have an exit door. I know when I have a bad day, when I'm sad, I have options. I can be just sad because I want to be sad today and it's a great day. And if there's something in there, you have to live through it. Or I can say, okay, I can talk, take now a 30 minutes walk because I know after 30 minutes in my brain, the endorphines and stuff that shooting, so this will mean, or I can choose gratitude and concentrate on everything that I'm grateful for. Health, for example, one thing after when I came back, when I came back from Vegas, I came down with a cold and suddenly that's when we remember how grateful we should be for health. But when we are healthy, we are never so grateful. We just take it for granted, right? You

James Blatch: Write these down, you have a notebook somewhere, do you?

Mark Reklau: Yes. You write those down. So people ask me, oh, can I make it in my head? No, you write, okay. It's more, there's something in the connection. I would even say write it down by hand with a notebook. There's something to this connection pen on paper to our brain. And that's the thing, it's so easy writing down three things that you're grateful for, it'll change. It will start changing your life in four weeks, I would say. And it's not because I say there's science to it. And I've taught a class in Barcelona some years ago about happiness. And the homework from the students was every time they had to write every day these three things. And I told them, you don't have to write it out. If it's something you're grateful for, you don't want to share with me, you write beep. But you do, you do.

And it was really like after four or five weeks when I saw the homework of the people, and when I saw how they were acting in class, it was exactly what the science also tells us. Shy people got more extroverted, people slept better. So one girl wrote in their homework, oh, I'm grateful I'm sleeping so well now I finally sleep through. I'm not so shy, I'm grateful, I am extroverted. And it's just amazing. And I get a lot of emails about it. So for me, yeah, that's why it's awesome. The gratitude does a lot and it just changes everything and it makes you also more successful because you see more opportunities.

James Blatch: That's brilliant. And funny enough, we have, I won't say who it is, but we have an older person in our lives at the moment, and they have a bleak outlook on life. And literally, it doesn't matter what conversation you come up with, you could be talking about yoghourt or television programme. They will come up with a negative comment about it. I don't like that type of yoghourt television programmes. I don't understand why they have celebrities doing this and they're struggling with depression. And part of me thinks if they just did a false, they will feel it's a false exercise of only saying positive things. I wonder what difference that would make to their

Mark Reklau: Yeah, absolutely. I mean everything, our mindset really makes everything

James Blatch: That's not to belittle depression, by the way, which I'm very well aware of is a different thing. But yeah,

Mark Reklau: No, even for me as a coach, when I practise as a coach, so we always said if somebody with depression came, we said, you have to see a therapist, a psychologist, a coach cannot work with pathologies. But there are little things that help. And I worked with people who were depressed and they did these little things next to talking to a psychologist. They improved a little bit. I mean, our mindset does a lot. And that's what you say, not to belittle depression, but why not try it works? Because it works both ways. James, if I would tell you now, everything bad that has happened to me in my life, we would both be probably crying in half an hour because it's just because we concentrate. And then you would remember everything bad that happened to you. It goes both ways. So of course I say, okay, I'm an economist. How will I feel better? Well, I will feel better when I feel good and happy. So I will concentrate on all the good stuff that happened to me in my life and that I can be grateful for.

James Blatch: And there is a danger, isn't it, that we go through life. I think I'm probably guilty of this, chasing something, chasing happiness or chasing something that's going to happen without ever thinking, this is life. This today is life.

Mark Reklau: That's it.

James Blatch: The old John Lennon quote that life happens to you when you're planning other things.

Mark Reklau: Happiness is always now.

And many times I was also made that mistake. I was always looking in the future for it, and I didn't notice it was just here, or I think good or somebody said, it's at your heels. It's at your heels. So if you stop, finally it can catch up with you. Happiness is also something else for every other person. So everybody, I think reflection, self-reflection is also one of these great habits that when I noticed, when I know myself now pretty much because I'm self-reflecting on Zoom, so I can deal with, I don't like critics, I don't like it, but if they come, I can deal with it because mostly it's something that I already knew about myself. And then it's like, okay, shit, this person has noticed it too. So at the end, it's how we deal with ourselves and we are our biggest critics anyway. Nobody will be as harsh as the guy that you see in the mirror with you. So yeah, lots of little habits that make life a little bit more fun. Yeah.

James Blatch: So let's go back to your marketing setup. You do your books, obviously print on demand.

So you do traditional print on demand and eBooks. You haven't had it done any sort of side deals or track deals with anyone?

Mark Reklau: I have a lot of international deals. I sent like 43,000, 40 3043. 43,000 would be nice. 43 international deals. But I have to tell you, they also come to me. Thanks of my position now, not anymore, but before, because I'm going white. I have gone white now, but before they came, because I was up in Amazon, so the Amazon ads were keeping me up. And then the international deals came. Now I don't know how they come. Some book is always selling somewhere. For example, my book, how to Become a People Magnet. I think it's selling very well in India. And suddenly Turkish and Albanian and other Indian languages approach me for international licencing deals, which I also happily do. Of course. Yeah.

James Blatch: Okay. So you have those deals, and your main marketing setup you say is Amazon ads, but you've come out of exclusive, you're wide now.

Mark Reklau: Yes, because last year they closed my account Amazon, and it was a shocker for me. We are all friends again, thank God. But it was a shocker. I mean it was also, but it was something that I always feared and I was not comfortable because I was spending an amount, I was spending 10 to $15,000 a month on ads, and Amazon was continuously owing me 40 to $60,000. And that's a lot of money because I know when they close your account, you sign when you click on agree to the terms that if your account gets closed, you might not get your royalties. So that was always a big, and then when it finally unfortunately closed because of a mistake, and they opened it again. But then I took a business decision and I said, okay, no, I don't want to have this pressure anymore. First of all, I'm going to go white because I want the least probable cause is to get a bot saying, oh, we found now your book on Apple and we close your account again.

Right? I didn't want that so wide. And then I also cut my spending on Amazon ads because I was okay, I prefer spending 5,000 a month and Amazon owing me 10, 20,000 a month. So that was the thing. So I got wide cut my ads, but now it has been going well for a year. So now I decided I'm going to up everything again. I don't care. We have to milk the cow while it gives milk. And I mean Amazon ads are getting better and better as I think. So I'm going to up everything again, and I want to go again to make the big numbers.

James Blatch: Where's your main income? Is it still Amazon? Is that your main income? Yes,

Mark Reklau: Yes, yes, yes. So the being white has substituted my KDP Kindle unlimited income because I'm nonfiction and our readers are just different, so we don't make a lot of money on the ku. So for me, it was an easy decision.

James Blatch: But your growth hasn't gone up as a result of this. You've basically just balanced out the KU with wide. Yeah, my

Mark Reklau: Growth hasn't gone up and it hasn't gone down. My growth has gone down since a year, but my net has gone up, which is the really important thing, which I also had to learn the hard way because I was always looking, it was all that $25,000 is so nice dollars, then it comes to me in Euros, then it's only 23 probably or 24. And then you spend 13 or 14,000 nets and suddenly you only have 10,000. And I have that now two. And it's the crazy thing, right? That one and a half years ago, I thought I'm the king of the world with my gross 25,000, and now I feel poor with my gross 15,000 euros. But at the end I'm having the same, or even over the year, more money. More money.

James Blatch: Yeah. It's all about the net.

Mark Reklau: Yeah, it's all about the net growth is for vanity net is for sanity. And I chose the sanity approach now. Yeah.

James Blatch: And what's next for you, mark? You got some more books planned?

Mark Reklau: Yeah, I mean the money book will come, and then I have one book which I'm very tempted to write. It's about manipulation techniques, because that has been, in the last 10 years, a lots of things have been happening. So I also studied NLP neurolinguistic programming, and that's also a way how you can manipulate yourself and others, but in a positive way. And when I learned it, I always said, wow, this is amazing. I hope nobody ever applies it a negative way. But in the last four or five years, I have seen it applied negatively. So I think I want to write a book about that. So to open people's eyes a little bit,

James Blatch: I thought NLP was something therapists did with you. Is it something you can do yourself?

Mark Reklau: Yeah. Yeah. NLP is everything. NLP is something a therapist can do, but it's about changing in your head, but very basically said, and it's a lot about words, the words you speak, right?

James Blatch: Is it going back to what I was talking about earlier, saying positive things and being a more positive person.

Mark Reklau: Exactly. It's like reframing the famous reframing. So from in the positive way, it was like I'm jobless. It's one way to do something. And now another way to tell yourself would be, no, I have no new opportunities to develop. Same thing is happening to you, but one thing is you say, I'm jobless, I'm jobless, I'm jobless. Maybe not the greatest feeling in the world. Or you say, wow, I have the chance now to do something new for me. You can say I'm sick when I get sick, but when I get sick, I always think my body is cleaning something is an imbalance, and probably it has to come into balance again. And that gives you a completely different point of view of the situation. What's happening in this you can bring to the macro. And that's very interesting. So yeah, I'm going to probably write about that, and that will be a new completely new book that has nothing to do with all the others.

And direct sales is my big thing. Now when in Vegas I saw that. So because I have been stuck at a certain level now for two or three years, and I never wanted to pay people to do my ads or whatever, but now I've come to say I might have to pay some of the top guys to go to the next level because I really want to try to get to the next level my, let's say dream. And then we say when you put a date to a dream, it becomes a goal. So my goal is I really, if I could make 10 grows or 15 grows direct selling, that would be amazing. So that will be my goal for the next one or two years. I hope I get quicker. If it takes a little longer, it's also okay. But yeah, so I'm really moving also full to the challenge of direct selling. And see, that's another thing, problem, problem challenge. Yeah, that's the typical coach talk. Yeah. But it's like, yeah, when you say it's a challenge, just not so heavy. It's not so heavy.

James Blatch: And also that's something else that protects you from other forces, intervening. If it's your own sales, your own website, your own direct sales, you've got so much more control over that. If be a big player goes down in the market, it doesn't affect you.

Mark Reklau: It's for me really, it's like a lot of pressure taken off. For example, now about the money book, I will probably launch it on my store and then I don't have to worry about the cover. There will be no email coming in. This is a cover. Do you have the licence to this cover? Nothing, because it's my store. So these are the little things that have happened in the last two or three years, but they're mounting to something. Lots of little stresses also make you more stressed. So yeah, if I can get those out of the way, it helps.

James Blatch: Well mark lots of takeaways from our interview. I've got my gratitude written down, which I think I'm going to do. That's a good

Mark Reklau: Thing to do. And you interviewed me so long, I only wanted to push the advertising course, man, because it didn't help me so much.

James Blatch: You're very kind. But this interview is about you rather than us, but you're very kind. I know the course has been a part in it, and you did say, oh, well, I tell you what we should talk about just briefly before we go. You did say you were going to erect a statue, but instead of that more practical, and what has been brilliant is you have been a co-sponsor of one of our SPF Foundation places. And this is a foundation we run to provide people not just with our courses, but with money to pay for editors via readee and so on. And I think you've put $10,000 in so far. I

Mark Reklau: Put $10,000 in and I will commit to 5,000 more minimum in the next two years,

James Blatch: Which is fantastic. So thank you very much for that. Making a difference to other people's lives. And my final question to you, mark, is you are a very positive person. I love being in your company. You are a good friend to SPF, and I'll count you as one of my friends as well. But has it always been this way with you? Have you always been a positive person or is this something Yes,

Mark Reklau: Because I had to survive because it was the only way to survive. So maybe one day I will talk about my youth a little bit. It's not the time yet, but it was tough. It was not easy. And I was questioning myself many times when I was 16, justice makes sense, or I lived next to a drain or just end it all. But I'm glad I didn't. And then I got into the self. My mom gave me my first self book, and then suddenly my questions were, well answer, there must be more to life. And for me, I found it out for me, it's growth. Growth become better, become a better person.

Distribute goodness, be every person to meet you meet. I try to leave her a little bit better than before they met me, and that's it. But mostly it's selfish because I know the gratitude. It comes back to me. And that's the thing. So I needed to survive. And that's why I become such a, and I'm not always positive. I can also be pretty bitchy and everything, but my main vibe is positivity. See the best in everything there is in every situation. And when you look back in your life, it's really like this, whatever has happened, or I hope, at least in my life, it's like that. I look back to bad situations, loss of somebody died, or even only a ex-girlfriend or whatever. And I look at it now and I say, wow, look what came out of it. Look, I lost my chop 10 years ago. Look what came out of it. My life is so much better now than when I was hating my chop. And that gives hope for the future that you just learn, you get over it somehow. Sometimes it takes longer, sometimes it goes quicker. But life is short. We have to make the best of it.

James Blatch: Yeah, distributing goodness. I remember that phrase. And I think, honestly, mark, I think people are better as a result of knowing you better people themselves. Oh,

Mark Reklau: That's very nice.

James Blatch: That's a nice thing.

Mark Reklau: Yeah. I hope we can't be a people pleaser, but I always think if I have something negative to say, I don't say it. But if I have something positive to say, I add, if it adds, why not say it.

James Blatch: Brilliant. Mark, thank you.

Mark Reklau: Thank you.

Speaker 1: This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.