s4 ep7: Joshua Clifton

Following a successful career of more than two decades working in award-winning bars and restaurants, franchise and boutique-style cafes and businesses, Joshua Clifton became a trusted consultant and support network within the hospitality industry.

Following a successful career of more than two decades working in award-winning bars and restaurants, franchise and boutique-style cafes and businesses, Joshua Clifton became a trusted consultant and support network within the hospitality industry.  Joshua is an experienced customer service coach, who provides clients with promotional and marketing knowledge to propel their businesses to great success through his business, MasterHost Coaching.  He has captured all of his expertise and more in his book, The Hospitality Survival Guide: How to Survive and Thrive in the Hospitality Industry, which was released in 2019 and went on to be named a finalist for the Best General Business Book at the Australian Business Book Awards in 2019.  In this candid interview, Joshua talks all about his path to authorship and how the industry is coping during the restrictions that threatened to topple many in hospitality.  You can get hold of The Hospitality Survival Guide and get in touch with Joshua at https://www.masterhost.com.au/ Watch the video above or continue on to read the full interview transcript: 

Roxanne – Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Pheonix Phenomenon. I’m your host and ghost writer Roxanne McCarty-O’Kane. Thank you for joining us once again, for another episode where we focus on sharing the transformative process that authors go through when creating a book and obviously talking through the amazing things that they have created that we can read and enjoy today. So I’m joined by the Australian Business Awards finalist, Joshua Clifton today, the author of “Hospitality Survival Guide”. So welcome Josh.

Joshua – Thanks so much for having me on.

Roxanne – So thanks for being with us. So Josh is a bit of a guru in the hospitality industry. He’s got more than 20 years, has more than a 20 year career in the industry and following this successful career working in award winning bars and restaurants with franchises and also both boutique style cafes and businesses, Joshua has become a trusted consultant and support network for business owners. Joshua is an experienced customer service coach who provides clients with promotional and marketing knowledge to propel their businesses to great success, through his own business Master Host Coaching. He has captured all of his expertise and more in his book, “The Hospitality Survival Guide”, which was released in 2019 and went on to be named a finalist for “The Best General Business Book” at the Australian Business Book Awards in 2019. And this is a bit of a flash of the cover right here and Josh I’d love for you to tell us a little bit about your background in hospitality and what it was that got you interested in stepping foot in there to start with.

Roxanne – Wow, well, thank you so much for that introduction. You know, this sounds fantastic. I’m happy to hear that as many times as you want to say it. No, yeah, the hospitality industry for me stems from a love of people. I enjoy being around people and enjoy great times, good experiences and providing a place where we can facilitate a great time and experience. I’m obsessed with the hospitality industry because to me, it’s the gateway to so many cultures not just in Australia, but around the world. It’s a reflection of our passion, our energy and so much we do is based around food and drink. And it’s that relationship that the world shares with its people and how we eat, is amazing. And I love it. And from the very first time I went into a cafe I just wanted to be that person that served that person a coffee. And the moment I turned 18, I went into bar work and I never really looked back. And that went into the love for marketing. And I think that two in one the same and marketing to me is you have to have a love for people, understand how they think, who they are, how they buy and those kind of things. And it’s a beautiful industry to be in and a beautiful thing to study because marketing to me is, it’s all about people and marketing is a whole concept from idea generation to product delivery. Some people get a bit nauseous about the idea of marketing but I think it’s the advertising part they might get a little bit nervous about but I think we’re all marketers at heart. And how we share experiences with the world whether it’s through a book or through a cafe, bar or restaurant, I feel it’s just an incredible thing to be a part of. And yeah, I’ve done that my whole life and stepped into consultancy work about five years ago through my own company, as you said, and then wanted to create a product that I could easily share with the world and encapsulate everything that I believed in.

Joshua – Absolutely, so was there a particular catalyst that I guess, led you to deciding to create a book and to become an author?

Roxanne – Yeah, what a great question. Look there was, for the whole time in my career from the moment I started in the industry, I always had a little notepad with me or some sort of doc where I just taking notes and I wanted to make things better and create better customer experiences and create more fun. And I’ve always been in the back of my mind, what more can I do? Consultancy was great, but it was limited with I’m being myself and I was working in a cake shop one day and the owner had approached me and said, “I need help with my business”. And I came on board as the manager for about four months and we built it up, we had a high percentage increase in sales and everything was going great. But what it turned out to be, the owner was a little bit too far in the red and she had to close her doors. And I remember vividly, she came into, it was a cake shop and we’re out the back getting things ready for the morning, and she came in and she was just in tears saying I have to close the doors and all the staff were there and everyone was there, and she’s a mother of three children, had a house, lost the house, everything with this and I just made a promise then and there that I just, I knew I could have helped her if I’d gotten there earlier. And I thought I can help businesses like this, I know I can. And that’s what prompted me to really go down that route of writing a book and getting this out there.

Joshua – Yeah, absolutely. So she was almost like your ideal reader at the time, isn’t she, or still is? People who can dive in and really start to get the wheels in motion to benefit their business before they get to that stage.

Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely. Obviously it’s great for people coming into the industry now, but it’s definitely in that category even if you’re experienced, a vet, there’s things in this book that you’ll be able to pick up straight away, go to a particular chapter and like, this is what I’m having a problem with and go to it and treat it like a tick box style mentality, as opposed to just a story. So it has lots of, it does help those people that are in a bit of a rut but it definitely helps those people who want to expand too and take it to the next level even if they are already successful.

Joshua – Absolutely, and it’s great that it can run the gamut across all of those different demographics as well. So that’s amazing.

Roxanne – Yeah, it’s definitely evergreen. It was a challenge to write because I wanted to make sure it was for anyone in the industry. A lot of people just loved the way I wrote it. A lot of people liked certain chapters, but it is for anyone in the industry for a love for help, or just assist.

Joshua – Yeah and tell me about the writing process. You mentioned you had a notebook around with you for quite a while, but what was it like to actually sit down and concentrate on creating the actual book structure?

Roxanne – Oh, look, it was quite cathartic to do because it’s like, some many people, when they see me writing books, they always say to me, “I could never write a book” and I say to them, “Well, how much could you write if you just write about things that you loved?” And they said, “Ah forever”. I’m like, well that’s what writing is, and that’s what it was for me. And I just started writing one day and I’m like, I read a few articles, things online before I went to ORP and was like it should be this many words and you should be focusing on this and I’m looking at word counts, is that enough? Is that not enough? And there were days when I’m just pumping away content and all of this was written in the industry I wanted, I was writing in cafes, I was writing in bars, I was writing in restaurants, just to get that buzz feeling. There were days when I’m like, this is awesome, this is gonna be fantastic. And I’d read it the next day and I’m like, oh, this is trash. So there is a lot of back and forth, fighting with myself on it but I loved the process of writing. It was really exciting.

Roxanne – Absolutely, and for those who don’t know, ORP is referring to Ocean Reef Publishing, which is a publishing company that’s based here in Queensland. So, tell me, yeah I know that speaking to a lot of authors through this series, that you mentioned there was the to and fro, the self-doubt, or oh that’s trash, what were some of the, I guess, mental barriers or hurdles that you overcame in the process of creating even the first draft?

Joshua – Yeah, there were a few. There was a lot of self-doubt. I constantly felt like I had the weight of the industry on my shoulders and who am I to help assist some of these seasoned vets who’ve been in the industry for 30, 40 years? I felt like a bit of a young gun trying to teach the old players tricks and those kinds of things, so there was a lot of self-doubt that it wasn’t good enough and questioning it but there was times when I just wanted to literally throw in the towel and I was literally tempted to just delete the whole master file completely. And there were just some demons that we just had to fight through, it was just, I call them growing pains now because they work ’cause it was leading to something greater. And yeah, it was a lot of doubts. The thing that got me through it was when I was looking for testimonials and endorsements early on and I was sending this to people in the industry who I looked up to and they were like oh my god, that chapter four, that was brilliant. And I’m like, in my head I’m like that was, really light stuff for me. Okay, that’s great. So you do need encouragement with this process. It’s very easy to go into your bubble as an author and you’ve really, let self-doubt creep in and you’ve got to have a good support network around you. That’s just paramount, whether it’s friends, family, your publishing company, whoever it is just to remind you that this is good and you need to expand out your reader base as much as you can. And obviously, yeah, there was naysayers. There was people close to me and otherwise that’s, I’m sure they just do it out of love deep down. But yeah there was a lot of doubt and there was a lot of people around it, but at the same time, there was a lot of support. So it was a balance and I think just keeping the book at the forefront and keeping that long-term vision in place, what do I want from this? What is the outcome of this? As opposed to thinking short term thinking, that chapter isn’t good enough. And I’m like, well, if that’s not good enough, the other chapters are great so just go with that. So I think self-doubt and all that creeps in when your vision is a bit skewed or you’re doing a bit of short-term thinking and analysis but when you keep that big vision, which is important, your legacy, your why you’re doing it at the forefront all the time, it’s normally enough to get you through it.

Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely. And what was your big vision? What was your dream goal when you were even in those initial stages?

Joshua – Yeah, look, it sounds a little funny but I wanted to be the face of hospitality. I wanted to be the person that people and I haven’t really shared that with anyone, but that was it. I genuinely did. I wanted to be the most, not from an egotistical point of view, like, look at me, I know everything, nothing like that. It was more that I know with my energy and my passion and my knowledge and my skill set, I can help a lot of businesses, not just in Australia but worldwide, because the hospitality industry all embodies the same principles. It all embodies the same strategy and idea. And that’s for a love of people, love of food, a love of drink and a love of creating memorable unrivaled customer experiences. And I knew I could do that and I wanted to help as many businesses as possible do that.

Roxanne – Absolutely that’s great. And so in the process of writing did you find that your approach or the finished product actually had evolved and changed a little bit from when you first sat down or did you, were you pretty much sticking to your planning the whole way through and just executed?

Joshua – Look the book itself, I remember when I sent in for my manuscript appraisal, they said, it’s really great content but structurally it’s a little bit of a mess. And it was. Grammar is not my main strength. I’ll admit that, I know how to write but the words themselves coming out can get a little bit funny sometimes. But it did evolve when I started seeing that chapters started to come together, when they suggested chapter ideas and formatting ideas. When the book was gonna come out, adding more on certain sections removing parts on other sections, just to create more flow with the book, definitely involved. And for the most part, all of the changes that were recommended, I hundred percent went with. There were a few that I’m like, no, I wanna stick with that one. And that was a good thing about, I paid that, it was always my decision, but I trusted their team, I trusted their editors and I went with it and then it turned out exactly the way, obviously better than I’d ever hoped, but yeah, it’s quite an experience yeah.

Roxanne – Yeah, so when you say obviously better than you hoped can you share, what’s happened for you since you released the book?

Joshua – Wow. Well, I had one goal with the book and because I genuinely thought it would do okay. I didn’t think it would do as well as it did. And the goal in the back of my head was I wanted to help one person that knew nothing about me. I wanted someone to get it who knew nothing about me and that dream came true. I got an order and Ocean will have a laugh about this, I got an order from Poland, and it was two books through a cafe in Poland and I’m like, okay, there’s gotta be something wrong here. Looked it up and Ocean’s like no the order’s legit. I’m like, okay, sent it off. And a few weeks later I got a Instagram message from this woman in the cafe in Poland. And she said, look, thank you so much, I really loved it. She had took a picture of it in her cafe I now follow her cafe on Instagram. And me trying to be as efficient customer experience as possible, I tried to respond in Polish. And sometimes Google Translate doesn’t work very well. So what I said something about a dish pan, thank you, or something, I don’t remember in the text but either way, it was amazing. And fast forward, obviously we had the launch at the Hospitality Expo here in Brisbane where I was invited to come along and do a speak on a coffee master class and I launched the book there and I didn’t know what to expect. That was the first time people could buy the book in hand. And I remember I spoke to about 50 people or so and I was speaking to someone afterwards and my beautiful mom was there to help support me, and I hear this, “Josh, Josh”, and I didn’t know what was happen ’cause everyone had left and I was just talking to a couple of people at the end of the session and I turn around and 30 or 40 people were lined up ready to buy the book. And I was just so blown away, it was such an experience. And then we had our book launch obviously which went really well down in Manly. We got a major sponsor from Stone & Wood Brewery to come on board, who paid for the event, which is amazing. Yeah, the book’s in now seven different countries, obviously what you said there I was a finalist in The Australian Business Book Awards in the General Business Book Category so I’m applied to a few other awards in the States at the moment. And yeah, it’s going around the world and it’s incredible. I’m getting feedback and I’m getting pictures of people on Instagram and they’re sharing it with me. So yeah, really, really humbling. It’s something an author always wants but to actually see it, to see that result and then to get those testimonials back, it’s really exciting. Especially in New Zealand as well, really took it in stride. The States did as well. Where else were we, we were in the UK, obviously in Poland. I think we had a couple orders in Germany. I mean, I don’t know it’s in English, so I don’t know how they’re reading it but obviously they’re aware that this is in English and yeah look, it’s been nonstop. I’ve been invited, I’ve teamed up with TAFE Queensland, so then it’s now in every single TAFE in Queensland now. And I now speak down at Queensland TAFE in South Bank, well we’re doing it, roughly every month talking to hospitality students and yeah. It’s been amazing. It’s changed my life for sure.

Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely. It sounds like those marketing skills have really, really come in handy for you.

Joshua – Yeah, definitely. And obviously we went through a marketing process with ORP and it was, even though my background is marketing and I’ve got a degree in marketing and all those things I still have a lot to learn about book marketing. So it was really cool to sort of see that crossover between marketing business and book marketing and see the synergies between it.

Roxanne – Absolutely, and was there any eye openers for you that you picked up from that, that may have been a different way to approach book marketing perhaps?

Joshua – Yeah, totally. It really, because with the hospitality industry you do a lot of social media advertising, you put pictures out, but for the most part people know the industry. They already drink coffee, they already go out for dinner, they already have bars. You open your doors, you’re gonna have people coming in. You provide an exceptional, consistent experience, you’re gonna get feedback, you’re gonna get loyalty come through. With book marketing, for the most part, people don’t know you. They don’t go out actively, like they’d buy coffee, like they would buy a book, they do research. So where it really came into it is really improving my skills in collaboration. So working with businesses, working with high profile celebrities, working with professionals in the industry, aligning myself with them, giving them a copy of the book. How can we work together to share it with our database. That was really, really exciting to learn about those new skills. So yeah, testimonials, endorsements, creating a website, ready to buy books, just the whole scope of libraries and specialty bookshops and how you approach those and refining ’cause I was already speaking as a business consultant anyway but then doing more keynote speaking as an author was different again. So there was a learning curve there a 100% but it was a really exciting one. So it really did compliment what I already knew and yeah, just sharing that journey on social media through that whole process, from the moment I started writing up until now, has been awesome. It’s been really exciting.

Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely. And I’m curious to find out and for you to share with our viewers and listeners, why it was that you decided to go into publishing rather than, a lot of people have a goal to be traditional and publish.

Joshua – Yeah, look really great question and full transparency at the very start I had no idea how this all worked. I literally went into the, there was a Dymocks I believe it was, I went to the business section and I just turned over business books and just had a look, okay, I’ll contact that company. I’ll contact that company. And I made a few contacts. I didn’t hear back from a few people. I heard back from one person and I said look, had a few questions to ask about this, how does this all work? And they responded with, if you want any more information then we’ll have to charge you for it. And these were just general questions and I’m like, okay thanks for making me feel really good about not going with you. And to this day, Ocean and I, we still conflict about how we actually met, but we believe it was through a referral through someone else. And I met Ocean Reef Publishing and then he opened my eyes a bit to the whole scope of how it works because he had a huge amount of information on choice. I never felt like pressure to have to go with him but he gave me the choice of what traditional publishing is, what independent publishing is, what self publishing is. I did a couple of books self published, I know what that was like, it was horrible. It wasn’t for me, because there was too many prongs going out everywhere and there was no real cohesion with the book itself. But the main reason for me independent was because more rights, more control, over the book. They had a huge, extensive information base on marketing, which is really important because I know with traditional publishing they might help market your book a couple of weeks or a few months after your book launch comes out. And I just thought, I know in my heart that’s not enough and it’s too late then. So I was really impressed by their marketing process but it came down to rights and royalties and how that all works. And like I know with ORP any book that I sell through my website, through my contacts, anything I set up myself, is my money. And if we go through Ocean’s distribution network, they take a small cut, but I don’t do anything. So it’s just easy money on that way too. But it definitely was around rights. I own the rights to the book. And if there’s agreements going around maybe across the world, that’s something we talk about, but within Australia it was my book. It was close to me and I’m making sure that I have a good ROI and making money off it. Like he made it very clear that even though your book may be in bookshop, even if it’s selling, does that mean I’m actually making a bit of money, or how much cut is it? And when I heard percentages like 40, 50, 60, 65% goes to the distributor, or I’m just like, I’m getting 30% of this book? I’d rather market my own book, reach more people naturally and organically. So yeah, I think traditional may have an extensive, a bit more of a umbrella approach to their marketing but for the rights and the money, wasn’t for me.

Roxanne – Absolutely. And even though you did have the support network there of ORP to take you through the assisted publishing side of things, it is a lot of work and it is, a lot of time and effort. So I wanted to find out from you what it was like to actually hold the first, even if it was the proof copy, in your hands and to see that tangible outcome of all of that work.

Joshua – Yeah look, it was crazy. It was emotional. Because you spend, so I’ve actually still got the copy, it’s on my desk over there. I’ve still got the original, covered in coffee stains and folded corners but that’s the industry right? It was incredible because you spend so much time going over and then you spend so much time editing and proofing, but it’s all digital work. It’s all been digital. And then you get this physical representation of this hard work that you’ve done. And you treat it like it’s your own. It’s very personal and yeah, it’s a reward. It’s like, okay, this is real now. This is a product. This is something that’s going out to the world. You can’t delete it. You can’t update, as soon as someone buys it, that’s it, there’s no manipulation of it. So much we can do on social media, you can delete posts and photos, but with this, it was forever. And so it was exciting, it was nerve-racking. And then obviously when the pallet of books came in, that was when it really hit home. I’m like, okay, time to to get to work.

Roxanne – Perfect, and obviously we’ve spoken a fair bit about marketing and the importance of it to get your book into as many hands as possible. But what do you think is, would you say marketing is the most important element, or are there other things for people to consider too to be able to get the same sort of reach and success that you’ve had?

Joshua – Yeah. Great question. I believe it is equal parts, good editing, good structural work, good manuscript appraisal and good marketing. And they have to work side by side. In my opinion, from the very start, they work in alignment with one another and they keep going throughout the duration of the book. You might be thinking well, after the book’s done you done need to edit anymore, but if you do second editions, reprints, you might wanna change things after the few, you wanna get feedback. So that process still going. But marketing is so important. And I think the biggest problem that a lot of people that I’ve come in contact with around marketing, is what we talked about earlier, is that they’re fearful of it. And I think it’s the advertising part which is a very small part of marketing. Like I said, marketing is idea generation to product delivery. So in essence, we’re all marketers. If you’re writing books, you’re a marketer. It’s just that advertising prong that made people a little nervous. And I think when we start marketing our book and ourselves, a lot of people have a lot of doubt. Like why would anyone wanna listen to what I have to say? Why would anyone wanna do this? And I say to them, well, why’d you write your book? Is it just for you? Did you want to share it with people? What impact did you wanna have? And it’s about sharing that journey and realizing that it’s not just about you, it’s about your vision. It’s about the message. It’s about the problem you’re trying to solve, or help, or assist, or leave with people. So, for me, it’s about, I’m just a conduit there’s information flowing through me and I’m just here to support, and if people wanna get to know me, that’s great, but this isn’t what I’m trying to do with the book. This is my focal point. Always value, value, value driven, I know that’s a buzzword that gets thrown around, but it is everything, right?

Roxanne – Yeah.

Joshua – You’ve got to look at anyone you follow right now, anyone that you admire, look up to, I guarantee you without even knowing them, I bet you they’re giving away massive value, they’re being vulnerable, they’re giving you tips and ideas and they’re really helping you and they very rarely feel like they’re selling you something. That’s the whole mentality. That’s what we connect with people. And when you can help someone through that process, whatever you’re doing, then they will want to get to know you, and they’ll want to listen to your journey and learn more about you. But yeah, to me, it’s simply so important to market your book in that, and have the mentality that it’s not just about you right now, especially as an unknown, if you are an unknown author. It’s about what you’re trying to achieve and just giving out valuable information constantly. And yeah, that’s what it’s all about in my opinion.

Roxanne – Absolutely. No, it sounds beautiful, thank you for that. And I wanted to find out how the book has elevated you and your business as well. Have you had a lot of people reaching out after they’ve read the book as well to work on?

Joshua – Yeah, yeah, definitely. Especially around the social media space. ‘Cause that was what I specialize in helping cafes, bars and restaurants through that business development and social media development. The other thing too, is having a response with speaking. So coming in to businesses, talking to staff, talking to major clients, at the moment I’m aligning with one of the biggest software companies for hospitality businesses and rostering, an iced tea company, Pauls Milk. So we’re doing a lot of company work now where I’ll be going down to the Melbourne International Coffee Expo which is later in November. And yeah, it’s one of those things that, when you align with those people and those companies and those people, it’s really shown me, where I can drive my business now and what I thought, what was people want and what they really need. So the book’s sort of been a gateway for me to understand my customers a lot more deeper and fine tune their problems as other, rather than just relying on just my knowledge base and hoping that this is what will help, but listening to them more now has been huge and that book’s been that gateway into it.

Roxanne – Yeah, that’s amazing. Yeah, I always find that people who write books particularly as a pillar for their business do get that clarity through your process, which is, it’s amazing to see every time so.

Joshua – 100%, especially if you’re speaking from the heart and it’s a very personal journey and it’s written when you’re in a very vulnerable state when you’re sharing it, that feedback, you know it’s truth. You know it’s very accurate. So it’s a lot easier to align with their problems and then listen to them a bit more whole-heartedly.

Roxanne – Absolutely. And I mean, it’s no secret that 2020 has been really full on for people in the hospitality industry, business owners, employees.

Joshua – Yep.

Roxanne – Everyone, I wanted to see how it’s been for you and have you had an opportunity to connect with a lot of people to help them through the stresses of Covid?

Joshua – Yeah, look it’s, I sent in a post a few months ago that the hospitality industry has literally just taken a shotgun blow to the chest. It was the one on the front lines and it’s still hurting and the worst may be yet to come. Because there’s still job seeker, job keeper payments, but they will end. And I’ve said to people, if your head isn’t above water by the end of October, you’ve gotta really be careful. I started a group about five years ago called the Australian Cafe Owners Network. And today we just clicked over 2000 verified members on the cafe group. And that group was created back then for the reason of supporting cafe owners, and being there for each other, helping each other solve problems. And a lot of work has gone into it but the group just exploded at the start of Covid ’cause everyone was struggling. We’ve had videos, I’ve been talking to people on the phone, people in tears, people who are terrified and not sure how they’re gonna pay their next bills and everything like this is, it wasn’t just the owners. You gotta look at the staff and everyone too. There’s so many staff, who are out of jobs and everything like that. And it’s, like I say the worst is yet to come and it’s been horrible, but there’s been opportunity too and I love what this industry has done, especially in Australia. And it’s showing us our ability to adapt and change. And you look at take-aways now and people like literally overnight have turned their cafe into a take-away shop, or their restaurant into a take-away business. And it’s just, I’m so impressed by the hospitality operators in Australia with how they’ve done that, because it’s, I take my hats off to them because to not only lose a 100% of your trade within a few weeks, but then step back and go, okay, how can we make money? How we gonna get the money to keep going and to do that and then, I think a lot of us thought this crisis would be going on for a lot longer and now we’re coming out of it and if things keep going the way they are, we might be back to some sort of normality in a month or so. I don’t think any people thought we’d do it this fast. So, we’ve adapted and now we have to change back to a certain practices. So the resilience of this industry is what I love about it, is what I’m most profound about.

Roxanne – Yeah absolutely. And I love that you used the word innovation. I literally was reading a story today about a pub here on the Sunshine Coast that’s set up, a whole stack of little igloos, so if you want a little isolation igloo to have a meal and it’s just amazing what people are coming up with.

Joshua – Yeah, it’s awesome. Just that level of innovation, adaptability, and being, and just showing that resilience, but also just that the ability for them to just to push on, like it’s just, for anyone out there who runs a business just imagine your entire cashflow gone in a week. It’s hard to imagine, but this is the way it’s been. And for months for a few of these people. And so it’s just, the resilience in showing their energy and passion on their social media, adapting, I’m sure you’ve seen on Instagram that there a lot of people doing lives now, chefs that were doing lives on Instagram. Trying to keep connected, it hurt everyone.

Roxanne – Yeah. Absolutely, but it’s great to see, that there is a level of positivity there that people are collaborating, they’re working together. They’re really try to get through it as best as they can which is awesome so.

Joshua – Yeah and that’s it, no one was safe in this. It’s not just one industry. It’s not just one state. It’s not just one country. This was worldwide. And I think the fact that we were all in it together was enough of a drive to push on.

Roxanne – Excellent. All right, and so you’ve mentioned before how much clarity you were able to get for your business direction and getting the feedback from your clients as you were writing and after you released your book, but I wanted to ask you from a personal level, how do you feel you transformed afterwards, so from writing to becoming an author process, and taking that out to the wide world as a published author?

Joshua – I like art from a personal perspective, do you mean like how I felt internally as a result? Yeah look, number one, it built tremendous amounts of confidence in my ability, getting that feedback from people because when you’re writing in the book for so long, like I said, unless you’re reaching out to people, you don’t know what the response is gonna be like and unless you’re actively looking for those reviews, endorsements, early on, it’s incredibly tough and your self-worth can be quite low because you’re just not getting that feedback. So for me, definitely from a confidence perspective my ability to, like I said, talk with businesses, collaboration, before I wrote the book, for me to approach a big business like Pauls Milk would be terrifying, but now, I’ve aligned with them. And within a half an hour coffee catch up with one of their Queensland reps at a cafe, she, we decided to team up and buy a number of books and all those things. So it’s definitely built confidence around myself, my ability to talk to anyone, in any sort of tell about. I still get nerves and that kind of thing, but definitely up on stage, I really enjoy because as much as what we know and what we’re passionate about and what we’re knowledgeable about, I think regardless of what we’re doing, who we’re talking to, whether we’re up on stage, organizing a business deal, there’s still a level of nerves. But when you get that feedback, when you’re getting that response of like, there are a lot of people out there who are needing this, who want this, who want to learn more, that’s what drove me to keep going. And yeah, and it’s changed my life and it’s all for the better. And that process that I went through with ORP and the mentorship program, it was more than just book mentoring. It helped me start, clarify my business and the book itself just reinforced everything I wanted to do and gave me that energy to look five, 10, 20 years down the line now.

Roxanne – That’s awesome. All right and you shared so many amazing insights throughout our conversation today, but I wanted to see if you were to maybe narrow in on the top tip, or maybe one of the most eye-opening things that you’ve learned in the process of becoming an author. What is it that you would like to share with those who are still maybe aspiring to be an author or still sitting on the fence about whether to take the leap themselves?

Joshua – Look, I think a, great question again. Look, I can’t speak for the whole reader community but I can definitely speak from my own experience. And for me, if you’re in that starting process, it’s just about writing. Just keep writing. Don’t worry about the length. Don’t worry about the type of words you have. Just get it all out, get it all out of your head and really tap into those creative moments that you have because creative expression doesn’t just happen when you want it to. There is no time, that certain night that I need to be creative between seven and eight. It’s about making sure that you always have access to it. And normally creativity sparks when we’re doing something that we love. The way of being inspired, that we’re relaxing or having fun, whether it’s in the shower or spending time with the kids or going for a walk, whatever it is really tapping into that and capturing those moments and have your phone, get a voice recorder and record those thoughts and feelings and get it down and really just keeping your vision at the front. What’s the big picture in all this? Remove any materialistic money-based drivers in this decision and really ask yourself, what is the end result? What do you want to achieve for this? Who do you want to touch? Why do you wanna touch them? And what will that mean? How many people do you want to reach across the world? That has to be at the forefront the whole time because any time doubt creeps in, or your self worth depletes, or you’re unsure whether it’s good enough, that’s when we get into a vicious cycle of short-term thinking and you need to keep that at the front. And obviously having that support network around you and just backing yourself. Trust the process. It will be okay. Have the courage to take action and the faith that it’ll be okay. And making sure that you have those support network around you family, friends, and your publishing team.

Roxanne – Excellent, that was a very holistic answer. Thank you very much.

Joshua – Yeah, I went a bit down the rabbit hole there. But that was my experience. If I could go back, that’s definitely what I would do. I’d work on trusting myself more, keep looking at that big picture. ‘Cause I got a little too focused on the little details and I know that, what I think about my book isn’t what other people think about my book. That’s just merely a perspective.

Roxanne – Absolutely, and that’s a great thing to touch on too actually, is that people get so worried about what other people are gonna think, but yeah and that can be a real handbrake for a lot of people so.

Joshua – 100% like it’s, we, I think it’s just that old reptilian brain kicking in where it’s just a safety mechanism. If we’re not liked by a lot of people, there’s that subconscious feeling of we might not fit in, isolation, death, all those things. We’re going a bit deep here, but that’s what it stems from. Realizing that by doing this book you’re gonna be okay, you’re gonna survive. Yeah you’re gonna get some naysayers, but then you’re gonna help a lot of people too. Is it worth the risk? Hell yeah. So if you’re coming from a place of truth and authenticity and honesty and knowing that your book, your story will help others and you know in your heart it will, it’s always gonna be the right decision to keep going.

Roxanne – Absolutely. Thank you. Ah, this is really, I’m getting the chills because this is kind of the message that I’ve been saying for quite a few years now with my clients and to hear it coming from yourself, it’s really awesome to hear that there’s a lot of people that have the same mindset around

Joshua – Yeah. Yeah absolutely, I love talking about it.

Roxanne – Excellent, all right. So before I let you go for the day, I would like to see if you’d like to share how people can connect with yourself. Finding out all about how the hospitality business is and, or to get a copy of your marvelous book in their hands.

Joshua – Thanks so much, at the moment, with my consultancy work, I am, looking at working with clients one-on-one but for the main thing for me, it’s about getting this book out to as many hospitality businesses in Australia as possible, because that’s the best way I can reach the most amount of people in this time when we’re coming out of Covid. ‘Cause I know a lot of people are still hurting and this book is all based on strategy and business development. Even though it was released last August and we didn’t know what was happening, this book was meant to be released at that certain time. And it was meant to help people out of Covid. I truly believe that now. And so yeah, what I’m doing is my website is Master Host, M A S T E R H O S T, masterhost.com.au. And you’ll be able to learn more about me there, what I do and everything, but the book I’m actually doing free shipping Australia wide now to get this book out. So that’s just to help financially to get it out as fast as I can. I’m also gonna send out a free e-book version of the book for anyone who buys now over the next few weeks or until my stocks run out, there’s still a few editions of the first print run available. So you’ll still get your hands on one of the very first print runs and I’ll sign it, write a message for you if you let me know your name and that kind of thing as well. It’s also available on Amazon obviously as well if you wanna go down that route but yeah, it’s just more of a personalized copy if you wanna come through me. And yeah, I encourage you to share it with others and if you know someone in the industry, now share it with them too because I know this book has changed lives and it is changing lives and now more than ever, this book needs to be out.

Roxanne – Wonderful. All right. Well thank you again so much for sharing such incredible insights with us today and for your time, really appreciate it.

Joshua – No, it’s an absolute pleasure. Thanks so much for having me, it’s been great.

Roxanne – Thank you.