Henry DeVries is a book publisher, ghostwriter, best-selling author, and co-founder & CEO of Indie Books International. Henry DeVries is a persuasion expert who has written 14 marketing books and is a weekly columnist for Forbes.com. He works with independent consultants who want to attract more high-paying clients by marketing with a book and speech.
Before his latest endeavor, Henry helped double revenues as president of an Ad Age 500 marketing agency and was a vice president that doubled awareness for a $5 billion insurance company. After serving as adjunct faculty and the assistant dean of continuing education at the University of California San Diego, he has been a ghostwriter, editor, and publisher of more than 300 business books.
Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing vs. Self-Publishing
In his career, Henry DeVries has used all kinds of publishing, and he believes each has a place.
- Traditional Publishing: Credibility for a consultant can be increased by working with a well-known traditional publisher that pays you in advance royalties. To get this traditional deal, the author has to write a proposal that persuades the publisher that it cannot lose on this book. In this case, the author has a pretty big existing audience. Publishers with a strong reputation want to know if an author can sell 10,000 copies of a book annually.
- Self-Publishing: Before the internet age, self-publishing had a bad reputation, but Amazon.com and print-on-demand publishing changed the game. With print-on-demand, it’s no longer necessary to print a large number of books to achieve a low printing cost. There’s no need for a sales crew to get the book into bookstores, as customers can purchase it thanks to Amazon and other online merchants.
- Indie Publishing: Like indie films or indie music, the creator of the content owns the product and hires professionals to assist them to produce a quality product. Authors benefit from higher royalties and much lower author costs of books.
2 Special Offers for the How’d It Happen Listeners
Henry has been so kind to provide 2 special offers for the listeners of my show, the How’d It Happen Podcast. You can find all the details below:
Special Offer for How’d it Happen Listeners # 1
Book a complimentary 1-on-1 strategy call with Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Offer # 2
Want Henry to write about you on Forbes.com? Send an email to Henry@indieooksintl.com and type “FORBES” into the subject line. You will get a response with the exact steps to take to be considered. Tell Henry you heard about him on the How’d it Happen Podcast!
And now here’s Henry DeVries.
Full transcript below
Video on Creating a Scrapbook for the Future, with Henry DeVries
Henry DeVries on Business Development
Visit IndieBooksIntl.com to Learn More About Henry’s Business
Discover How You Can Persuade With a Story
Check Out Henry’s Columns on Forbes
Connect with Henry DeVries on LinkedIn
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Podcast with Henry DeVries. Creating a Scrapbook for the Future.
people, business, henry devries, book, story, write, independent consultants, question, wife, books, screenwriting, hear, university, thought, retire, agency, mike, gary, ceo, helped
Henry DeVries, Mike Malatesta
Mike Malatesta 00:04
Hey everybody, welcome back to the How’d It Happen Podcast, powered by WIINDJECT Studios. I’ve got a great guest with me today, as I do every week but and this guest has something in common with with a good number of guests that I’ve had on the show. I was introduced to this guest by my friend, Justin Breen, you’ve heard his name a few times around here. And every time Justin introduces me to someone, it turns out to be a fabulous connection. So Justin, thank you for that. And Henry DeVries, welcome to the podcast.
Henry DeVries 00:53
Well, Mike, that introduction. That’s a lot of pressure, but I’ll do the best I can.
Mike Malatesta 00:57
Okay, well, I like to set it up like that just to make you feel really nervous and feel like you have to perform at the highest level you’ve ever performed in your whole life. Henry, are you ready for that?
Henry DeVries 01:09
I was born ready, Mike. Okay. All right.
Mike Malatesta 01:13
The other thing I do have in the connection that I have with Henry is Henry wrote a piece in his forbes.com article about me and my book earlier this year, which I was very grateful for. So after Justin connected us, that was the result of that, and now we’re going to hear more about Henry’s story and less about mine. So let me get you excited about Henry. So Henry DeVries is the CEO and Acquisitions Editor, that’s Chief Encouragement Officer of Indie Books International, a company he co-founded in 2014. He works with independent consultants who want to attract more high-paying clients by marketing with a book and speech. As a speaker. He trains business development teams and business leaders on how to sell more services by persuading with a story. He is also the president of the New Client Marketing Institute, a training company he founded in 1999. He’s the former president of Ad Age 500 advertising and PR agency and has served as a marketing faculty member and Assistant Dean of Continuing Education at the University of California, San Diego. In the last 10 years, this is blows me away, Henry has helped ghostwrite, edit and co-author more than 300 business books, including his McGraw Hill best seller, How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett, which is now in five languages, including Chinese, giving the Chinese all of our secrets. He has the monthly column with forbes.com, As I mentioned, and he’s got a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego and his MBA from San Diego State University. And he’s also done some work at low places like Harvard Business School, that kind of thing. So on a personal note, Henry is a former Associated Press sports writer, he has visited 41 Major League parks.
Henry DeVries 03:38
Because of the pandemic, the Toronto Blue Jays had to play in America for two years. So they played in Buffalo, and a minor league Park in Tampa. So those are on my list.
Mike Malatesta 03:54
Oh, okay. So if a major league team has touched the park, you want to get there as well.
Henry DeVries 03:59
Well, they have to have it as their home. So I just I don’t count one games. Like going down to Monterey for a weekend or going to Seattle? I’m sorry, going to Tokyo for a weekend. I’m not counting those in my official tally. But they have to have been headquartered there for us. Okay.
Mike Malatesta 04:16
Oh, wonderful. All right. Henry’s hobby is writing comedy screenplays. And he hopes one or two or 10 will one day be made into films. You can reach and learn more about Henry at indiebooksintl.com. LinkedIn is Henry J DeVries. And of course at Forbes, forbes.com/sites/henrydevries. So Henry, thank you so much for being here. I start every show with the same question, and that is how did happen for you?
Henry DeVries 05:05
Well, Mike, after that introduction, I was afraid we’d be out of time.
Mike Malatesta 05:09
Oh, well, you provided it.
Henry DeVries 05:12
Let’s go back in time. Okay, so back in time, the year is 2001. And I wish you could have been there when my business coach, Gary Hawk, said, Let’s go out to lunch, I want to hear about your exit strategy. So Oh, finally, somebody wants to talk about my exit strategy. So I have the MBA, so I know what an exit strategy is. So I’m so excited to have lunch. So we go to a place called PF Changs Chinese restaurant. And Gary said, so what’s the exit strategy? At the time, I was running my own marketing communications agency, I had been the president of someone else’s agency, which I helped get into the ad, age 500, which is the 500 biggest advertising agencies in America. And I found it was more lucrative to run my own lemonade stand of an agency than manage somebody else’s agency that they own. So that was a learning. I had this agency going. And I said, Well, Gary, thank you so much for the question. Because here’s, here’s my vision. I’m going to grow this agency, and have it running like a top until it’s a million dollar agency, then I’m going to sell it to a strategic buyer. It’ll take 10 years. So after the 10 years, when I sell it, then I will help independent consultants attract high paying clients. It’s scary for them. They don’t know how to do it. They’re afraid marketing is actually bad for them. I’ve cracked the code, I know how to do it. Curie said, Wow, that was not the answer I expected. Do you mind if I asked you three follow up questions. I said, go ahead. And he said, So how would you do this? And I said, Well, I would write books on the subject. I would put on seminars, I would give workshops, people would invite me to give speeches, I would align with a university. And it would be someplace where my wife could also work, and it would have lots of trees and water. I believe it’s an Oregon. Okay, wow. That’s a pretty specific vision. And you seem very excited about this. I said I am. He said, Well, let me ask the next question. Why are you waiting? 10 years to follow your passion? Oh, Mike, I hate it when people like you ask a question like that. I mean, that’s a gut check question. So I did what your clients do. I lied. I lied to Gary. And I will, Gary, it’s because I have this group of employees. I have contracts with clients. I have a lease, I have a mortgage. I have a bank loan. I have all these things. I have a wolf at my door every morning to get into the agency. I have to, you know, get past the wolf at my door. Okay. I didn’t know it was alive, Mike. It was my fear talking. My fear was talking and it’s that little five year old voice in the back of your head. And it said all those things and it came out of my mouth. Well, Gary knew it. He’s a wise coach of CEO peer to peer groups, and he knew it but he let me off the hook and he goes, Okay, I get it wolf at the door. How would you get started in a small way? I said, a small way. Well, I would put on a lunch and learn at my office. I would you know, serve turkey sandwiches and I would tell him everything I know about how to attract high paying clients. So I took the last $2,000 in the business checking account, and I bought a list of consultants. I bought postage invitations, and I had the money reserved for the turkey sandwiches. And my invitations were in the mail, the week of 911 2001. So when the Jets hit the tower and the Pentagon, my invitations were at the post office. So I think we all remember what happened to business during those days. The top 10 agents He’s in San Diego, experience five of them going bankrupt. One Agency owner who survived told me though, we didn’t write an invoice for 90 days. And the same thing happened to my little agency. And we almost went bankrupt. But a funny thing happened. At the end of the month, my conference room was filled with consultants who wanted a turkey sandwich. And to hear what I had to say about business development. The extent of my intellectual property at the time was one sheet of paper with 29 bullet points. And I poured my heart out, and I explained the 29 points in 90 minutes. And then I made the mistake, Mike of saying, Are there any questions that somebody? Yes, yes, I have a question. So what’s your question? How much would you charge to coach us on how to implement these 29 steps? Well, Gary Hawk never asked me that question thought about okay, I had no business model. Yeah. So I PFA and I pulled from air and said, $5,000. And he said, Do you take credit cards? Or can I write a check? The next month, I said, six, then 789 1011 12, the number didn’t matter. Two things mattered one. How much of the heavy lifting I was willing to do for them. And to their conviction? Well, it transformed the agency. I found a home for the employees, I found a home for the clients. And I took on this singular mission of helping independent consultants and things were going great. And then one day, my wife called a board meeting. Nothing and with the with the note that said, we
Mike Malatesta 12:04
need to talk, that kind of board meeting and
Henry DeVries 12:07
nothing in the history of business. Good ever happened after a note that said we need to talk. So she sat me down and said, Okay, you’ve had a good run, you’ve helped a lot of people, you’ve made a difference in their lives. But you know, we’ve got nothing to show for it. And then she used a profanity, a four letter word. You need to get a job, A J. OB. And I said, I’m unemployable. And she says, What are you talking about? You got an MBA at Harvard. I said, but I’ve been on my own for for all these years. Nobody wants to hire somebody who’s been on their own plus, I don’t want to work for anybody. She said, Okay. So no one would hire you. I said, No. She says, Nobody. There’s nobody you want to work for. I said, No, nobody in the world. I said, No, nobody in the world. She said you would work for the University of California at San Diego. Well, she had me there. That’s my alma mater. I had taught there in the extension program for going on 15 years. I was the president of the Alumni Association. I said, okay, but the, the university just doesn’t come find you and offer you a six figure salary. There’s all these hoops and other things. Okay. So, in California, we say that’s challenging the universe. In the Midwest, they would say I was challenging god. I’m bilingual. I can speak both languages. I can speak California, and I could speak Midwest, but
Mike Malatesta 14:01
wow, that was quite an eye. Yeah. And your books in five languages? five languages? Italian Yeah.
Henry DeVries 14:08
So. So um, funny thing happened. 30 days later, I get a note from the Dean of Continuing Education at the University that says, We need to talk. Oh, so I go into my meeting with the dean. And she said, I’ve heard rumors that you’re leaving us and going to the University of Oregon. I said, Oh, no, that’s my vision speech. So I gave her the vision speech, you know, water trees job for my wife. And she looks at she looked at me kind of like, you know, a dog looks at you, you know, like, ooh, rah, rah, you know? And she goes, I don’t get it. She said, you’re already associated with one of the top 10 universities in the world. Everyone likes you from the president up in Berkeley all the way down to the janitor here. So we’re going to start you off with an academic administrative appointment, and your starting salary will be. And I said, Wait a minute, wait a minute, did a job interview happen. And now a salary negotiation is broken out, I missed something here. So I went to my CEO, peer group, and Gary, and I spelled it all out. And they said, this is a no brainer, we said, essentially, what they’re doing is they’re buying your business and taking it into the university. So first, you’re going to offer them three days a week. And they’re going to come back and they’re going to want to tie you up. And they’re going to offer you a contract. So whatever you do hold out for only a four day work week, then you can run your business the other three days of the week, and cherry pick your clients. That’s exactly what happened. And my wife found her job as the fiscal manager for one of the research departments. So she was their their, you know, money fiscal HR person. Oh, by the way, the university or University of California, San Diego, where our offices are, is in a 1200 acre forest that is on the Pacific Ocean. Trees, water, the whole vision came true. Just you don’t have to go I thought it was going to come true. Yeah. So somebody comes along and says, you know, these 29 points, point 15 is write a book, I don’t know how to write a book you do? How much do you charge to ghost write a book. So I PFA set a number too low. But that was the first book, you’re not the person I hired. 10,000 copies go out there. And then all of a sudden, I’m getting a lot of calls from independent consultants, saying, you know, I’m asking around and people say, Oh, I know a guy. The guy is Henry debris, he can get your best seller, he’ll train you how to speak, he’ll open up all these doors for you. So that’s going on, while I’m the assistant dean, and I’m teaching. So the side hustle is getting bigger than the job. And I go to the dean one day, and I said, I love our work here. I love the University. But for some reason I love these independent consultants more, and they need me. And I had a plaque on my wall, like the plaques of what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? And when is it? And I was 55? And and I went home to my wife and said, I want to talk to you about the next 10 years. She goes Oh, said you turn the tables. Let me lay it out. Yeah, remember when we got married, and we said we retire at 55. And now we’re both 55. And we’re have these huge jobs at the university. She goes, yeah. I said, we’ll never get to do all those things on the bucket list. Because we can’t take the time off. You know, they, they want to pay us for the time off, but not let us take the days. He said, Let’s both retire and take this business from side hustle. We’ll blow it up. I don’t even know what it’s going to be. But it’s going to be something special.
Mike Malatesta 18:55
That’s when indie books can.
Henry DeVries 18:57
Yeah, that’s when my wife looked at me and said 10 years, make all those things happen in five years, and you got to deal. So I resigned from the university. Oh, they they thought I had this is not a joke. They thought I had had a nervous breakdown. Because I had to go into the senior HR person and read the policy manual aloud. I was one of the top leaders at the university and had a lifetime contract. In essence, I had tenure for six figures. I said the only way I could be fired was for cheating with the Chancellor’s wife. I mean it was like and into their minds about and they have a scarcity mentality at university that I would walk away with this. Meanwhile, I had already written the Warren Buffett book and you know I’ve gotten an international bestseller and a lot was coming from that. So I walked away and I started in the books. person I knew well, Mark LeBlanc, who’s also a best selling author said, I want to be a part of this. And I said, Oh, well, you know, how much do you want? Because half, I want half of it. He was doing the Eddie Murphy routine about divorce in California, I want half. I said, Okay. I said, I don’t know what the business is yet. He says, I don’t care. Just whatever it is you’re doing, I want half of it. And I said, what’s our operating agreement? And he said, we only do things that we both agree if either of us doesn’t agree to it, then we find something we both agree to. So I always said, my, I am never going to have a partner. So to mark I said, Well, I’m gonna have to think about this, because this is an important decision that affects the rest of my life. Okay, I’m in partners. Married are fortunate since and it has been great. And there’s never been anything that we couldn’t come to an agreement on, and do it. So
Mike Malatesta 21:10
is it still a handshake type of thing? Like,
Henry DeVries 21:13
well, tires also get involved in operation? Oh, that’s what I was telling you about. I never thought I’d have a day when I’d have a business attorney, an intellectual property attorney, a publicist, a set stylist, a video coach, is speaking coaches, there’s all these things that I had to do as I was learning on the way that okay to get this to be what I want. Also, you mentioned in my bio, so I wanted to be a screenwriter. And I threw my publishing, I published a book for a man who is the leading story consultant in Hollywood. His name is Michael Haig. And Michael’s client list, you know, Will Smith goes to him for all his movie projects, and people like Morgan Freeman and all this. So I, I told him about my dream, the, you know, I’ve read all his books. I’m, you know, I wanted to do screenwriting. And, you know, one day I wish I could afford him. And he said, Didn’t you see the godfather? I said, Well, yeah, I saw the godfather. He said, Well, what’s the what’s the key line from the godfather? And I said, I don’t know what he goes, I’m gonna make him an offer. He can’t refuse. So why don’t you make me an offer? And I said, I’ll give you a percentage of every movie I sell. And he said, I’m in. So I’m working on four screenplays right now. We’re working on finishing the one that we think has the highest Commercial Appeal right now. So he said, So what do you view what you’re doing here? I said, Well, I think screenwriting is a great hobby. He says math wrong answer. I go. I think like, I feel like I feel like a graduate student. I’m learning about this. It’s like I’m getting my masters in screenwriting man. Wrong answer. I said, I’m a screenwriter. He said right answer. It’s the only job in Hollywood nobody has to give you permission to have you just decide to be it. I said, I haven’t sold any of the screenplays. He goes selling screenplays is not the definition of a screenwriter. A screenwriter is someone who writes screenplays. And that’s pitching.
Mike Malatesta 23:50
That’s what you control. Yeah. And it’s what you tell yourself, you are to it’s really important to tell yourself something that you are right instead of something you’re trying to be.
Henry DeVries 24:00
So I have I have a scrapbook. But the scrapbook is not for the past. It’s for the future. And I look at my scrapbook every day. And there’s photos and images, and it’s what I want to become. So there’s a section about the screenwriting. There’s also a section about this mature business where eight years in the indie books, I’ve got over 150 authors that we’ve worked with in that time. I have testimonials where people have said I’ve made them a million dollars, several of those. So it’s working. Oh, and Vicki all those promises I made her. We did them all in five years, except the last one is I’ve lost 100 pounds. I have 35 pounds to go So everything else that was on that list that I would do if I couldn’t fail. We’ve done. And I’m closing in on the last one.
Mike Malatesta 25:11
Congratulations. Thank you. 100 pounds. That’s, that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s phenomenal. Although it may be may be the, you know, down the line of phenomenal things that you’ve just shared in terms of what you’ve been able to accomplish, and how you set about accomplishing those things since 2001, which is where you started the story. Do you mind if I go back there?
Henry DeVries 25:39
Oh, let’s go to anywhere.
Mike Malatesta 25:41
Yeah, let’s go back to 2001. And you’re having this conversation with Gary. And one of the things you said was that, you know, you were very specific about your vision, you know, described it very specifically had the timeframe set out and he challenged you with a question is, which is why, why 10 years. And you came back with something that you you sort of described as fear. And I’m wondering, because I think a lot of people are in the same shoes as you where they come they are asked a question, and they feel like they need to be they need to own the answer to that question. And so they have practiced their have ownership and quotations now they’ve practiced their ownership of that answer. And they are, are ready to give it at a at a moment’s notice. Okay, I know that question. I know how to answer it. But yet, and that comes off as confident, or can, but yet, you describe that there’s something behind that, what I’m calling confidence, which was fear. And I’m wondering if you could dig into that a little bit to help us understand.
Henry DeVries 26:51
Fear never sleeps. Fear is always there. It was at a conference for business owners. And there were 20 of us around the table. And I brought up the fear topic. And everyone around that table, very successful people or by any measure, people say those people are success. The woman who I would say was most the financially, most successful of all of us. So every day, she fears that it’ll all go wrong. And she’ll end up as a bag lady. We said, you know, what evidence is there that, but the fear is there, I had a rough patch in about 2006. I was ahead of the curve. While everybody had to wait to 2007 2008 for the recession. It hit me in 2006, when I had 25 contracts, and 25 different people all said, we can’t honor our contract. And there were all different reasons. But all of a sudden, I you know, I thought hey, 25 Now all of a sudden, zero people say money’s coming in. And one of my authors was a high performance coach for CEOs work for people like American Airlines and Timex. Sure. And so he said, Okay, you know, let’s, let’s go have breakfast tomorrow. So we go have breakfast, and I had fear on my face, obviously. And he said, Okay. He said, there’s a there’s going to be a trial, a court trial, and you’re going to be on the witness stand. And they’re going to ask you, can you make or have you made $100,000 a year? What would your answer be? I’ll say, yes. How many years? Have you done that? 20. What evidence, can you provide us that you did that for 20 years? Yeah. He goes, okay. So why do you think you can’t do it for 20 more? I said, I don’t know. And he goes, Well, let me help you. I’m going to buy your business today. I’m going to buy it. We’re going to come to a price. And I’m writing you a check. I bought your business now. The first act as the owner is I’m firing you as president. I said, okay, and he goes, now I need a president to run it. I’d like to you to apply. I said, Okay, he goes, if I’m a very demanding boss, what six things are you going to do this week? And I ticked off, and I ticked off things about business development and offering clients more services and all that, wrote it down. He said, Great, let’s have breakfast next week. So next week, we have breakfast and he goes, you know, how did you do on those six things that I gave a progress report. He said, great, what six things you’re going to do this week. And I told him, he said, Okay, you can keep your job. I’ll breakfast with you next week. And this went on, and I found out, it came out to be about the same six things every week. And he says, we don’t need to have breakfast anymore. Just keep doing those six things. And, you know, the business will take care of itself. But the fear never sleeps, Mike, it’s always there. So those pat answers we have, how’s business going? Great. How’s revenue? Unbelievable?
Mike Malatesta 30:36
Yeah, yeah, it’s, yeah, you’re right. And you’re so trained that that’s what you have to say, right? That’s how you fit in at these meetings, whether it’s whatever kind of meeting you’re at. I actually had a, I, I tackled that in my book, because I was in that same situation where on the outside, you know, most people looking at me will go like, wow, that, you know, things are gone going well. And some parts were going well, but inside of me, I was so it was so challenging for me to be, you know, justifying my own existence they get and not not in a non us, like, suicidal way or anything, but just take my position justifying why, you know, not only why am I here, but what, where am I supposed to go from now? Right? Like it’s, and it’s just so easy to sometimes get into situations where you just like, how long can I keep this up? Because I really don’t know what else to do except keep this up. Right? And it’s,
Henry DeVries 31:40
yeah, just keep going.
Mike Malatesta 31:43
Yeah, these 29 things that you came up with, as a result of that conversation? What were these just things that you had learned or developed throughout your career that you just started writing down? I mean, I’m trying to imagine this meeting, you know, you send out this letter to these consultants, and you say, hey, come for a turkey sandwich. And you show him your 29 things? What’s so compelling about the 29? Things are what did you expect to have happen from that? Meeting? Like, where did they come from? What do you expect?
Henry DeVries 32:16
Yeah, they were it was in San Diego. So it was a San Diego mailing list of consultants. And I, you know, I really didn’t know I was just going on the faith in Gary and his questions. And I’d also read, thinking Grow Rich 40 times by Napoleon Hill. So when he said, How would you start in a small way? That’s a question in that book. You know, you start right now with whatever you have. So I thought, What do I have? I have an office, I have a conference room, I have a conference table. It seats 12. So we’ll send this out. Not knowing that this wasn’t going to be a sideline. This would totally take over the business.
Mike Malatesta 33:11
And you weren’t doing it to sell anything it sounded like from you were doing it to really connect with people and provide some type of value that you thought and all of a sudden, the person raises their hand and says, Well, hey, Henry, how much would you charge to coach us on this that? Like, that just was a byproduct you weren’t expecting? Right? You were just sort of expecting that? Yeah. Okay.
Henry DeVries 33:32
Well, in California, we’d say the unit first manifested, yeah, yeah. God helps those who help themselves. So yeah, I did that. And then people started lining up to pay money. So meanwhile, there’s something about law of attraction and intent, and writing down and speaking aloud what you want and being specific. Nor going back to the OG, Norman Vincent Peale. And the power of positive thinking, you can go to Wallace Wattles, the science of getting rich. All of these are saying the same message about being very concrete in the vision. But also being open that it’ll it’ll happen a little different than you think. I’m sure with your companies that you’re building. And, you know, as I was reading about in the industry, you didn’t have all the answers. You didn’t even know all the questions when you started a lot of that. You had to think about it. You’re a bit of a contrarian. I liked that about you, in that you just didn’t be a sheep in business and do what everyone else was doing. You were challenging people with awkward, difficult conversations, but it was for the good The as the good of the orders we used to say, right? Yeah, so it was for the good of the order. So your your words in a mean place? So anyway,
Mike Malatesta 35:10
yeah, I think and that’s interesting what you say about that this, you know, the secret or manifesting the universe or, or whatever, juxtaposed against, you know, how would you start in a small way, because I think some of the things that people get messed up on is they hear that kind of stuff, you know, man, you know, manifest the universe or, you know, get your message out there, and it’ll just, it’ll come, but they forget the part about, hey, that’s great to get it out there. But if you don’t start making some small steps in the direction you want to go, and no one’s gonna care. Right, you have to sort of back it up. Right? You have to sort of take action, like you’ve taken action. It was, yeah. Henry, when, when you’re when your wife had this, this board meeting with you? This, we need to talk meeting. You said that, she said, you know, we have nothing to show for it. And that struck me because you were saying, you know, people were offering to pay you this much. And then this matching thing was just sort of taking off on its own. But what was happening that, because it sounded like that was I don’t know what she meant by that. We have nothing to show
Henry DeVries 36:24
for her. Oh, no, I’ll tell you we made millions and spent millions. Okay. And then I learned a secret from a business coach was, you know what? You don’t spend you get to keep it? Do you want the really bad version of the story?
Mike Malatesta 36:46
Yeah, sure. Give us the really bad one. Okay, so I always say
Henry DeVries 36:49
that the best day. I’m sorry. I always say the worst day working for yourself is better than the best day working for someone else. So the worst day was March 10 2012. And that’s when I got to talk to the federal prosecutor and the IRS auditing chief who said, Mr. DeVries, we believe you have been a victim. Now there’s three things you don’t want to hear in life. One is there’s a 60 minutes news crew waiting in the lobby to talk to you. You don’t want to hear oh, the neighbors called they’re reporting a strange odor emanating from underneath your house. And then the third thing is you don’t want to have the the federal government tell you you’ve been a victim. They let me read a 42 page indictment against my tax attorney and CPA. And it detailed all of the things that they have done to cheat the government out of millions and their clients. And I was probably the smallest fish in the net. And they said, so Mr. Jeffries, we feel you’ve been a victim. So we’re going to charge you the statutory minimum. You’ll only have to pay the IRS $75,000. You know, I mentioned I lost all that weight. I was an emotional eater. It’s scary. Being overweight. I went to a therapist, and she said, Well, do you think you you’re an emotional eater? And I said, Oh, I don’t know. Let me eat on that and get back to you. So I was an emotional eater. So that’s how the fear came out. I don’t drink or use drugs or anything. But you know, my, my doctor said, You’ve had your lifetime supply of doughnuts, you need to let other people have doughnuts now. So they told me I’d been a victim. And if I had a question about the 75,000, I said, Well, if if you’re letting me off light with $75,000. What would you know, bad have been. And the prosecutor said Mr. Drew Brees. If we were if we thought you were part of this conspiracy, we would put you away in a federal penitentiary for seven years. Do you have any other questions? And I said, Yeah, do you guys have any donuts around here, but think about this. So that debt, other debt over you? I think it was $275,000 in debt at that time. And I think that was part of what the wife was saying, you know, it’s like, Okay, why don’t you just get a steady job and we’ll get a pension and you know, so I’m happy to say today I am totally debt free except for my more Dage I’m debt free, we’ve got money in the bank, we did all those things, but there was a turning point. And she said, you know, you don’t have to start up this business and do all this. It’s okay, we’ll just, you know, slow and steady pay off all that debt. And, you know, we’ll, we’ll get to retirement. And I said, Yeah, that’s not what I choose. I, I heard a radio preacher once and he was talking about, you know, man, you like adventure, and you like excitement. You know, your wives like stability, your wives, like, you know, they like security, right? And I looked at my wife, we were in a cab, and I said, I am so sorry. She says, now we’re on the ride together. And she didn’t mean the cab ride. She said, we might not make it. But we have made it. And and, and I have no plans on retiring. I turned 65. This month. I’m on Medicare. Now, that was great. You know, let’s say it’s a few $100 a month. But the plan is to keep doing this. Because my mission is to help God’s other children with what I know best. And that’s how to mark it with a book and a speech. So
Mike Malatesta 41:21
I’m glad you’re not retiring. That the I’m not, I’m still in my 50s The Latin ladder side of my 50s, but I just can’t see it. Like there’s, there’s see I like if you’re fortunate enough to have an opportunity where you could retire financially, for example, yeah, I, I think it’s more helpful and healthy. To to, instead of retiring, just choose what you want to do more selectively. Right. So I call it options, not obligations, choose more selectively and keep doing it. Because you’ve got so much. Everyone that’s been fortunate enough to be in that position has so much to continue to offer to people that’s valuable. That if you put yourself on the sidelines, you know, you you first of all, you start to kind of rot but your value starts to rot to who and then all of a sudden, you’re trying to you become an emotional router instead of an emotional eater, you know, just kind of spiraled down.
Henry DeVries 42:27
Oh, yeah, it’ll kill you. I mean, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen it many times. So when I was in my 50s, Mike, one of my authors very, I’ve been blessed that I get to help. And I get advice from these amazing people who other people pay a lot of money for their advice. And because I’m interviewing them and pulling it out, I get it for free. And he just had me sit down and write up, you know, a tea, like, like, we do debits and credits, but it was on one side, I was to write everything that I didn’t like about being the President of the of a company. And on the other side of the ledger, I was to write everything I did life. And he said, Okay, now, what you do is you systematically get rid of everything on the don’t like list. And you keep everything on the light list. And now you’re retired, because you’ll never work a day in your life. If you don’t have to do those things. You’re Hey, yeah. Now every once in a while, do I have to go talk to a banker? Yes. Do I have to? You know, do I have to discipline employee? Yeah, you know, there are things that crop up on that list, but it’s not the regular part of my life. I’m pursuing these things that I like doing, and finding somebody who likes those things. On that bad side of the list. You know, accounting Yeah, I have an MBA, I can be the accountant here. But that doesn’t spark joy in me. But I have people who like, Oh, I get to be the accountant. You mean, I get to do all the numbers and do your taxes and all that, you know, Can I can I? Yes. You may, you know, okay, yeah.
Mike Malatesta 44:12
And if you’re familiar with Strategic Coach program, they call that unique ability, right? So everyone’s got a unique ability that something that energizes them and like, that’s the key, right? If you want to do free, then get rid of all the things that don’t energize you and fight but have to be done and find someone who gets a ton of energy from that and it’s just a win-win for everyone.
Henry DeVries 44:39
When I studied this business, one of the models was Strategic Coach. You know, read, read, read all his stuff I wrote about him. Dan Sullivan, yeah. Yeah, Dan. And, you know, the use of time and other things very profound. And then Ken Blanchard of the Blanchard companies One Minute Manager, I started to write about him. And he’s been a mentor to me, and was very generous in his time. So it comes back. And you said something nice about the business model here, we say the brand is generosity. So I, I speak pro bono every month, I do get paid to speak five to $10,000. But I waive that for certain groups. And I’m happy to help them and I’m happy to do one on one, I’ll offer it to any of your listeners or viewers that if they want to have a strategic phone call with me, not a selling call, but a strategic phone call about books and book publishing or promoting a book they already have, or a book that they could write, I’ll do that, at no charge for them, you know, just contact me through the website. The only catch is there’s only so many spots a month and they get filled up. So you might have to wait a month or something to to get on the calendar. But helping people was a big one on that right side of the list. So that’s the brand the brand is generosity.
Mike Malatesta 46:17
So that’s a wonderful brand, by the way. And can I ask you besides like, besides what you just offered, which by the way, thank you for that. We’ll make sure that that gets into the show notes
Henry DeVries 46:34
that you can ask me anything I told you about. I had troubles with the IRS. Yeah. Yeah, I totally vetted those people, by the way.
Mike Malatesta 46:43
Oh, yeah. So so. So what did they did not file your taxes? Or what did they do that impacted you that you had to pay the fees?
Henry DeVries 46:51
Well, what they had advice on setting up two corporations, and then certain expense expenses went through one corporation, and the other, and I ran it by another attorney at the time, I ran it by a former IRS, employee auditor. And, and when we started to check it out, but as they got growing, they did other things with the business, and then started charging us money and also taking money out of our account that we didn’t know. So it all totaled up. I overheard somebody in a sushi bar talking about it, and it cost him $800,000. And I think he lost his house. He said he almost lost his marriage. That was the Oh, Mike, if I can share this, this is important. So whenever I tell stories about my wife, everybody thinks she’s going to be like a battle axe or something. And it’s just the opposite. But I had to go to work when I realized I had made this horrible mistake. And, you know, I, I created this business, I got everybody into it. I did this. And I told her about this and all of it. And she looked at me and she says, how did we ever trust these people? And the voice in my head said, she said we she said we if I would you know, I’ve always told her you’re part owner of this. I would tell her things were going on with you know, she has a bookkeeping, accountant, HR kind of background, so she would just listen. But at this point, she said, I suspected something about them. I told you. I said, I know it was too late she goes, You rely on me to be a judge of character. You know, I should have been a better judge of character. These people, I should have known it earlier. And I said, let’s not beat ourselves up. You know, it happens now. Now we’re just gonna get out of this. Yeah.
Mike Malatesta 49:11
My wife, my wife, Jamie is similar. I think she has a better sense of people than I do. But I just tried to convince myself that whatever she’s telling me if I don’t agree with it, I just convinced myself that I that whatever, whatever the deficiency might be, I can make it right. But she’s more often than not the one who’s sort of nailed it, then it comes out later. Like, yeah, not maybe not the same way that yours did. But this, you know, that comes out later, when the truth is revealed, I guess. So the you’ve shared a lot of stories with us. And you know, your whole you say you say, you know it’s about generosity, but it’s also about telling stories. I think they you’ve recognized a long time ago that there’s power and being able to tell a good story that has value to people. And when people come to write a book with with you, and I did not write my book with, with Henry and I in, so I have my sort of, like, why I did it. And I didn’t want to leave that sort of off to the side, because I would love to get your, your, your wisdom and your expertise and like why suit someone? Right, write? Write a book, and what’s the what should if there’s, if there is a should? What should be the motivation? What should be the goal? Yeah, what, what? Why?
Henry DeVries 50:51
Thanks for asking, great question. There are several reasons why people write books. So one, let’s just take it as a client attraction tool. And I say the book is the number one marketing tool for a consultant. And talking about the book is the number one sales strategy. So by my generosity, they I hope to reward it by somebody coming forward and say I want to talk to you about a book. The speaking on podcast is how I helped a brigadier general from the US Army write his book, and how I helped a Harvard Business School professor write his book, they found me by listening to a podcast, okay. And the same thing I teach on how to do speeches and small scale seminars based on your book and this attracts people. That’s one. Two is your a CEO or business founder and leader who wants to create a culture. So you capture the stories around the core values of your business. Because human brains are hard wired for stories. And if we use the Hollywood storytelling techniques, our people are going to retain the story and be able to tell the story to somebody, they train somebody they’re recruiting. So the culture gets reinforced through the storytelling, of the core values or the basic principles, your tenants, what we believe what makes this business this business. Another reason will be it’s a legacy. The CEO, founder leader has gathered wisdom through the years. And they want to have that wisdom recorded and put down so others can have it. When I was 25. I worked with Ray Kroc Ray Kroc was the founder of McDonald’s. He also owned the San Diego Padres at 25. I was a marketing consultant to the San Diego Padres. I wrote their first marketing plan. I asked one of the VPS about, you know, who do you see as the competition and he said, The giants are really tough this year. But we can’t count out the Dodgers ever, you know, the Dodgers are tough. And I said, I’m sorry, I asked the question wrong. Do you think it’s the movies? Do you think it’s plays? Do you think it’s the beach? Do you think it’s picnics? If I’m going to spend an afternoon, or an evening with my family? What are my other choices? And I thought their heads were going to explode. Boom. What do you mean? Like, people have dollars and they go, Hmm, my dollars I’m going to spend on something for entertainment. Yeah, that competence. So I brought him through and helped him crack the million mark on attendance. And, but what I got was through working with Ray Kroc, and I was there on his 80th birthday, we through a celebration, actually, Coca Cola came to me and said, We want you to throw a celebration for Ray, because Coca Cola would not be in front of Pepsi, if it wasn’t for Ray and McDonald’s is fierce loyalty. So I want to give you a blank check. You know, you’ve heard about a blank check. He says, I want to give you a blank check to put on this celebration. I said, Okay, what do you mean a blank check? And he said, Didn’t you just hear that? Coke leads Pepsi because of Ray. Coca Cola is offering you a blank check. So I I spent millions on the event, and I was with Ray, and I was touring him around before the game in this tent with all his friends. She’s a franchise owner. Just people who used to be like a fry cook in Fresno and race if you’re gonna own the new franchise here, you know, right and a deal on the back of a hamburger wrapper. So he made these people millionaires. But when I started to work for Ray, he and I was to call him Ray, he gave me a copy of his book, grinding it out. And I learned all about the culture, the philosophy, everything about McDonald’s and the Ray Kroc way of doing business. He didn’t have time to spend six hours with me. But I took six hours and read the book and knew so much. So that’s one of the reasons people will write a book, Bill Gates, he didn’t write the books, but somebody wrote the books for him. But he wrote those books to position the brand in the marketplace. So it wasn’t so much for lead generation for Microsoft, but he wanted to be seen as a thought leader in the technology space. The same reason Jack Welch didn’t write it had somebody else write a G, to position the brand G through these books. So these are the different reasons people write books.
Mike Malatesta 56:23
And do you encourage everyone to write a book? Or do you know, because I’ve heard people say, Yeah, everybody should write a book, everybody’s got a story that’s worth telling that kind of thing?
Henry DeVries 56:34
Well, I’ll quote Warren Buffett, don’t ask a barber if you need a haircut. So don’t ask the book publisher.
Mike Malatesta 56:47
The answer is a Affirmative, with a capital Y.
Henry DeVries 56:52
So I want to be the Steve Jobs of consultant books, where everybody who’s a consultant can have an affordable book that positions their knowledge and wisdom and expertise. So that’s what I believe. And then every book needs to have stories. Human brains are hardwired for stories. I’ll never forget the time I gave my persuade with a Story Workshop in downtown LA the years 2015. We’re in a high rise. We’re in the penthouse offices. I give a workshop for a group of CEOs on how they can persuade with a story. And the managing partner invites me back after the presentation to his inner offices. Sanctum Sanctorum. Let’s call him Bernie. Bernie, the attorney so Bernie attorney says, Henry, you see all these movie props and posters. And that was what his office was decorated? And I said, Yeah, he goes, Yeah, grandpa was a famous Hollywood producer in the 20s and 30s. And dad was a famous producer in the 40s and 50s. I went into entertainment law, but you solve the mystery for me today. I said, Bernie, what mystery did I solve? He said Grandpa used to say there are only eight movies we make in Hollywood. And I never knew what he meant. Until today. Because one of the secrets I teach on storytelling is there are really only eight stories you tell. It’s an overcoming a monster story. There’s a Cinderella rags to riches David versus Goliath story. There’s a comedy solution and a tragedy solution. Comedy is a wacky idea. You know, all’s well that ends well, Comedy of Errors. You know, it works out well. And then a tragedy. These are cautionary tales about somebody tried to take a shortcut. Like, oh, I’m a school teacher, and I have stage four cancer, and I have no retirement money for my family. I know. I’ll make meth in an RV in New Mexico. What could possibly go wrong? Breaking Bad, right? But the big short is that story, so is too big to fail. Barbarians at the gate. All these business books are these stories. There’s the mystery story, the quest for a prize, How to close a deal like Warren Buffett is a quest book. It’s not how to be like Warren Buffett, the investor, how to be like Warren Buffett the deal maker. And how does Warren Buffett get companies to take 20% less than other people are offering to be bought by Berkshire Hathaway. So that’s in the book there. He has principles and ways of doing it. And then there’s a rebirth comeback redemption story. And then there’s an escape from Crazy Town story where Everything’s going well. And then things, jumped the tracks and then you have to get back on track. You would know it as Alice in Wonderland or the Wizard of Oz. Business, I wrote a book called The prodigal executive. And it’s how this, Dr. Bruce Heller is brought in by boards of directors when the president or the chief technology officer is too valuable to let go, but too painful to keep. There’s a bloody wake of bodies behind these people. So Bruce Heller gets to come in and says to the CEO, I’ve got a hard news and good news. Because what’s the hard news? The board’s brought me and I’m your last chance. If it doesn’t work out with me, you’re gone. What’s the good news? I’m very expensive, they spent a lot of money to save you to save you. Oh, yeah. Okay. And he said, eight out of 10, he saves. I said, what happens to the other two? Well, one was sending a message, you know, subconsciously, or a Freudian message or whatever you want to say that they didn’t want to be there anymore. And they actually wanted to be thrown out. So he said, for those people, we just find them a landing spot and bring in the right person. I said, What about the 10, he goes to proud to accept coaching, won’t accept coaching. So it ends badly. So I teach people, those eight stories, I teach them how to tell the story in under two minutes. You’re not like a grandpa telling stories all the time. They’re very strategic when you bring them into conversations. And I teach authors, the stories need to be in your book, because your defining stories are your hidden asset. I didn’t share stories today from Aesop’s Fables or what happened to somebody else. These are my defining stories, I’ve honed them, you knew that this was not the first time I’m talking about the IRS audit. For the first time I’m talking about the Chinese restaurant and Gary Hawke challenging me. So you need to practice the stories, also. So you need a quiver of stories, you need to practice them, and you need to tell them at strategic times. Well, Henry, that’s
Mike Malatesta 1:02:17
fantastic advice to end on, I think. Thank you so much for being on the show today. I’m, I’m grateful to have learned from you today. And of course, I’m grateful that you helped me with your column. Congratulations on the weight loss, the 30 pounds, you have to go I’m quite sure that that’ll happen. Because you’ve already taken the steps and you’re on the path. And you know what, what to do? I’m glad you got free of the IRS. Cuz, you know, we wouldn’t be talking if it had gone if they had found that you had gone the other way. Right?
Henry DeVries 1:02:56
Well, you know, I didn’t want to gloss over that. So at one moment in my life, I had hired these people to keep me out of trouble. And I’m being informed that I could go to prison. And because the they had also wiped me out of money at that time. I you know, I’m in debt. I didn’t have money to hire attorneys to keep me out of prison. So you know, yeah, I would have been, I guess I could have done a seven year research project.
Mike Malatesta 1:03:24
Yeah, I guess you could have I probably would have come out of it. Better, but I’m glad. After Yeah. Yeah. And thanks for the opportunity for people to to connect with you again. I will put that in the show notes. And it’s just been a real joy talking to you. Thank you so much,
Henry DeVries 1:03:42
Mike. Man, I make one more offer. Oh, yes. Go for it. Okay. So if it’s one of your people, they’re listening. And they go, how do I get him to write about me in Forbes? Yeah, you know, you don’t have a Justin green in your life that make the introduction? Well, any of your listeners can send that email, if you can put Henry in the books I until that calm in the show notes. But all you have to do is send me an email that says Forbes in the subject line. That’s all. I will send you back instructions on how to pitch me for the story. And if we do the story, how to do it. As Mike can attest. It’s it’s a very organized process. It’s not loosey-goosey. We have a way of doing it. And Mike, I invite you to contact me again this year. I think you’ve got more than one story in you. That’s Forbes worthy. Oh,
Mike Malatesta 1:04:36
well, thank you. I will do that because I would love to have another I would love to explore that. Thank you so much
Henry DeVries 1:04:42
Henry, as they say at Chick fil A. My pleasure. My pleasure. I love that too. Which is better than no worries are no problem. No problem.
Mike Malatesta 1:04:52
Henry DeVries 1:04:53
What happened to your welcome? So I don’t know but at least at Chick fil A it morphed into bye A pleasure
Mike Malatesta 1:05:01
yeah that’s very smarter than to by the way it’s very memorable
Henry DeVries 1:05:05
right well it’s probably their brand
Mike Malatesta 1:05:07
this has been my pleasure Henry thank you so much