Kim Thompson-Pinder Didn’t Know Who She Wanted to Work With

Kim Thompson-Pinder Didn’t Know Who She Wanted to Work With

Please subscribe, rate, and review via Apple Podcasts or Podchaser! We also have a new Facebook page for the podcast, so please join us there!

Joining me for Episode #29 of “the My Favorite Mistake” podcast is Kim Thompson-Pinder and she calls herself the “the extraordinary word ninja.” Kim is Owner/Chief Visionary Officer at RTI Publishing House, and she is the author of five books. Her most recent title, being released soon, is Author to Authority (click for a free preview). Kim is also host of a podcast of the same name.

You'll hear Kim talk about that colorful phrase and why she uses it. You'll learn about her favorite mistake of getting overwhelmed with clients — how she just “fell into” this sort of work and she didn't clearly define who she would want to work with. Is it a mistake to not have a book? Maybe not, but Kim will talk about the value of having a “signature book” that defines you and your business.

I think you'll enjoy the conversation, as I did.

You can listen to or watch the episode below. A transcript also follows lower on this page.

Podcast Audio:

Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

Video Podcast:


It really came down to not knowing who I wanted to work with. -- Kim Thompson-Pinder

Don't write a book for everybody. "If you want your book to be effective and a marketing tool that builds your business, it needs to be targeted. "

Subscribe, Support, Rate, and Review!

Please subscribe, rate, and review the podcast — that helps others find this content and you'll be sure to get future episodes as they are released weekly.

Automated Transcript (May Contain Mistakes)

Mark Graban (0s):
Episode 29 Kim Thompson-Pinder, the “extraordinary word ninja.”

Kim Thompson-Pinder (7s):
It really came down to not knowing who I wanted to work with.

Mark Graban (17s):
I'm Mark Graban. This is My Favorite Mistake. In this podcast, you'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes because we all make mistakes, but what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at Learn more about our guests and how to subscribe. Visit and now on with the show.

Mark Graban (57s):
Hi, welcome to My Favorite Mistake. I'm Mark Graban, and we're joined today by Kim Thompson-Pinder. She describes herself, I love this, as the extraordinary word Nnnja. So I think we'll have a chance to talk about that today among other things. She is the owner and chief visionary officer at RTI Publishing House. She's authored five books and she has a new book that'll be out in January called “Author to Authority,” and she currently has a podcast of that same name. So Kim, thank you so much for being here. How are you?

Kim Thompson-Pinder (1m 29s):
I'm awesome. Thanks so much for having me Mark.

Mark Graban (1m 32s):
Well, it's exciting, sure thing. And it's exciting to have, you've been through this before. We can see the books behind you on the video, but it always is exciting having a new book just on the cusp of publication and released, right.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (1m 45s):
It it's been a labor of love for a few years. It's like the shoemaker whose children go without shoes. I been working on so many other people's books that I didn't have time to work on my own, but you know, this is the year and going into 2021 for my book to come out

Mark Graban (2m 5s):
Well. Great. So we'll talk about that and other things you're doing a little bit more, but, but first off, Kim, what would you say is your favorite mistake?

Kim Thompson-Pinder (2m 16s):
It really came down to not knowing who I wanted to work with. I kind of fell into a publishing company. It started with people just asking me to ghost, write for them because I had already was a well-established published author and I started ghost writing and then people wanted editing and formatting. And because I learned how to do them all with my own books, I started doing all this, but very soon I was so overwhelmed. I had to bring on more people, but what happened was because I kind of fell into this business, I really didn't know who I wanted to work with. So you know, about a year in and I was just kind of starting the company.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (2m 57s):
I was actually debating whether I start the or not. I was really frustrated because, you know, while I worked with a few really people, a lot of the people I was working with were sucking the life out of me. And, you know, it was kind of like, do I even really want to do this? If this is what it's, you know, what it's going to be like, like if, you know, having these customers who, you know, are trying to penny, pinch everything out of you, you know, they want a lower, lower price, but they want more and more and more service. And I remember one day in particular, I just, I sat in front of my computer and I kind of put my head down and I just said, I can't do this anymore.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (3m 43s):
You know, it was causing stress in, in my family because I was having to do extraordinary things just to try and keep these clients happy. So they would pay me, I wasn't sleeping well, yeah, I was unhappy. And of course when the wife and mom's unhappy, it kind of makes everybody else in the household unhappy. And so it was just creating a real situation where I had to decide was I really going to continue with this? And like I said, that one day, it just bowed my head and I was just thinking about it and praying and meditating.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (4m 23s):
And I just had this thought, and to be honest, it was a thought I'd had before that I hadn't really listened to, you know, I had done some trainings and some teachings and it was all of a sudden, like this moment of clarity of everything I had been taught in the past just kind of came to the forefront. And I realized I needed to determine who it was I wanted to work with and only work with that person. Yeah. And that, that moment of clarity really kind of changed things. Now it didn't change it overnight, obviously, because first of all, I had to figure out who it wasn't wanted to work with. Right. And secondly, I had to now start connecting with those people.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (5m 4s):
And third, I had to finish all the projects with the people. I didn't want to work with, get them off my plate, but over the next six months, I was really able to determine, and that's when my business just started taking off so quickly because now I was working with the people I wanted to work with.

Mark Graban (5m 24s):
And you were, I guess, as you predicted a lot happier working with those people in that context.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (5m 32s):
Yeah. Because, you know, we shamed shared the same values, the same morals they were heart-centered entrepreneurs, they recognized and were willing to pay for quality and value. You know, they weren't looking for just something slapped together. They wanted a quality book and that's what I wanted to write. Yeah. So, Oh no,

Mark Graban (5m 58s):
Go ahead. I just changed everything. Yeah. Yeah. So you've already, I was, I was going to ask you, what are some of those characteristics you've already kind of sketched some of that out? Have you had to figure out how to determine as you put it, if someone is willing to pay for quality and value, is there sort of a pre engagement and, you know, kind of conversation or interviewing process of sorts to try to flush, to try to draw out if they're going to be, as you put it a penny pincher or not?

Kim Thompson-Pinder (6m 32s):
Well, usually I tend to target people. I already feel can well afford, you know, my products and services, but you know, when we have that initial conversation and I gauge it on it, sometimes people aren't ready. So sometimes I don't even mention the price in that initial conversation. You know, sometimes it's a couple of conversations, but it's actually quite simple when I get to the point when we talk about price, you know, if I mentioned the price usually it's yeah. Okay. Can we divide it into a payment plan? Sure. Right. If there's a lot of coworking or, you know, a lot of hesitation on the price, then that kind of gives me an indication, okay.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (7m 15s):
Maybe this is not something, something that they can afford. And, you know, I've learned to ask good questions, okay. To determine that. And sometimes it might just be, they can afford it, but maybe they need a longer payment plan. So the monthly payments are shorter. Right. If they really balk got it, then I'm like, kind of like, okay, maybe I'm not the right person for you, but I, I have some courses that I've been developing for people who really can't afford my products and services, but still want to write their own books. So I have courses that teach them how to do it themselves

Mark Graban (7m 50s):
At a lower price. Yeah. That's yeah, yeah. Yeah. So, you know, thinking back to, you know, you, you started the publishing house and you know, and anybody who, you know, as they say, hangs out their shingle or opens a business, it's, it's, it's a, a blessing and a curse to say, okay, wow, good. I'm getting a lot of business. You know, I th I knowing people from different consulting firms, there's often discussion around, you know, you want to be so busy so that you can afford to choose the right kind of clients who are a good fit. Sometimes people get pressured into taking anybody who will sign a contract because, you know, obviously, you know, the, the need for income, the need to keep employees busy.

Mark Graban (8m 38s):
And so, I mean, it sounds like you kind of came around to say, well, it's not enough just to be busy. You've, you've got to find, I guess, other levels of fulfillment as, as, as you've learned through this process of if you will choosing the right clients. Well,

Kim Thompson-Pinder (8m 57s):
Here's the thing. If, if I'm going to be unhappy, I'd rather just get a job with a steady paycheck and not have to work the crazy hours. Yeah. Good point. Yeah. Right. So I want to become an entree. One of the reasons I became an entrepreneur was for the freedom of it, recognizing that, you know, probably for five to seven years, you know, I'm going to have to invest a lot of time, a lot of energy, you know, put a lot of things in, get the momentum, going, develop systems, you know, bring on all the right people in that. But there comes a point when you develop that business, that in some ways you can step away from it because it's not totally reliant on you.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (9m 45s):
And that was all, that was my goal was to build that business. So I don't, if I'm unhappy for five to seven years, it's just not worth it. Sure, sure.

Mark Graban (9m 58s):
So thinking about like the types of work that you do and, and, and this upcoming book, author to authority, you know, from looking at your website and then in materials, it seems like you make the case that if somebody is a professional, whether they're independent or maybe, you know, a larger consulting group that, that a book is, I mean, is it going far enough? Is it going too far to say it's necessary? Or is it just a huge advantage in terms of establishing yourself as somebody that people are gonna want to do business

Kim Thompson-Pinder (10m 35s):
It's not necessary. Okay. But like you said, it's that huge advantage. You, you know, to become that authority, you've got to build in so many areas at once. You know, you have to understand marketing and branding. You have to understand sales, you have to have amazing communication skills. You've got to build that network of people. You know, you've got to have that social media presence. And then, you know, finally, as you start to grow, you've got to find bigger ways to promote yourself, right? So you've got to work in all those six areas to really become that authority. But when you become an author and you have what I call a signature book, so it's not even just about becoming an author, it's about having that book that really defines you in your business.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (11m 20s):
And it's a book that's so much value that people just want to work with you because the book has changed their life. It allows you to do all six of those things faster, stronger, better, you know, it just, it takes your learning curve down. And, you know, instead of maybe five to seven years, you may be able to do it in two and a half to five years. Yeah.

Mark Graban (11m 52s):
So are, since, you know, we, we, we talk here of course, about mistakes in the podcast. Are there mistakes that you see common mistakes that a prospective author makes when they're, when they're even in the early stages of thinking about writing a book that might help establish that might be their signature book as you call it?

Kim Thompson-Pinder (12m 13s):
Well, actually it was the same mistake I made most of the people when they approach me, they want to write a book to everybody. And if you want your book to be effective and that marketing tool that builds your business, it needs to be targeted. So, you know, I, I talk about in the marketing segment of becoming an authority, the, the three core questions, so who do you serve? How do you serve? And who are you in relationship to those first two? So, you know, who is it that you want to serve, right? Like, who is that target market? How do you want to serve them? You know, even though I'm a publishing company, I only do very specific types of non-fiction books.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (12m 57s):
I don't do fiction. I don't do children's. I don't do biography memoirs though. Many of our books contain stories from the clients, but I don't specifically do those types of books. I do, you know, the types of books like Tony Robbins and Jim Roman, Zig Ziglar, and, you know, Brian Tracy, all of those type of people, those types of books. And that's all that I do. So, you know, I figured out how do I serve them? So I serve them in a very specific way. And then who am I in relationship to that? So you talked about me being the extraordinary word ninja, and that is the business persona of Kim Thompson-Pinder. That is who I am to my clients and to the people that I, that I serve right now, is that all that I am, no, I've been married.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (13m 43s):
I'll be married 30 years in February to the same man. I've got two adult children. I am Nana to the sweetest and cutest grandbaby ever. Yeah. I love to knit. So I love music. I love reading, right? So those are all things that are part of me, but my business persona is the extraordinary word ninja and chief visionary officer of RTI publishing. So that's the biggest mistake that people make is they don't determine who that target market is. How do they want to serve them and who they are, because once you combine those three and you know, those three, it makes your business go bigger, stronger, faster, but it also gives you that strong foundation to write a book on.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (14m 33s):

Mark Graban (14m 34s):
So I mean, what I hear you describing really resonates because, you know, in, in other language and with some of the work I do in my main profession, you know, we talk about the importance of customer focus and, you know, is it a mistake? How, how often, or, you know, do you see an author kind of just think in terms of, well, here, here's what I want to share, as opposed to trying to step back and think what is useful to your audience, do you, do you often sort of try to help coach people in that more, if you will, reader centric, mindset, customer focused mindset.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (15m 9s):
Well, once they start working with me as a client, that's actually the first conversation we have when, when creating depth in the book, I take them through a whole series of questions and I take them through those three questions to begin with and we kind of help determine, and usually very quickly I can determine if someone's usually actually before they even sign up, but you know, someone's open. Or if they're just got like, you know, this is the, and there's nothing else type, type mindset. And I don't tend to work with those people because many times they really don't understand who their target market is. And they want to write this book to everyone. And, and if they can't understand that they have to target down for it to be effective, then that's going to be a huge problem.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (15m 55s):
And it's funny, one of the things that happens, we hit about the middle of the book. So, you know, we we've ghost written up to about chapter five and it's a very collaborative process because we really capture their voice strongly. It's about creating their signature book. That sounds like them so much so that nobody realizes it's been ghost written. Right. And usually around chapter five, we have this discussion and all of a sudden they want to start adding all this stuff to the book. And it's like, Nope, that's book two. Yeah. That's what to write because all of a sudden it's like, Oh, they've got all the stuff and they've, they've been writing and it's kind of like, no, we still have to keep this book focused.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (16m 41s):
Right. And they're so excited. They've just got so much. And it's like, okay, okay. Start writing this stuff down. We finished book one. We'll start looking at book two.

Mark Graban (16m 51s):
Yeah. Yeah. So the, the role of an editor and a coach is really important for helping keep an author on track. It seems

Kim Thompson-Pinder (17m 0s):
Well, I mean, the, particularly the women in your audience will understand in many cases, you know, it's taking about nine months to a year to produce a book. So it, it's kind of like being pregnant and giving birth to this child. Right. And you're pouring your heart and your soul into this book and your knowledge and your wisdom. Some books are a lot more personal. I've released two books that have a lot of teaching and training in it. But a lot of the basis is their stories. One lady escaping Sharia, lot of Pakistan, and how she came to the States and started the business. You know, another lady helps people overcome trauma.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (17m 43s):
That's her business. And, you know, she's, she had been through so much trauma. We that, you know, she has more lives than a cat because she's almost died so many times in her life. Right. So this process of writing a book can actually take a lot out of you. And so, you know, you, you have to think of it like this, this pregnancy, this, you know, this, this child developing in you and, you know, and then you start delivering it out to the world to see. And sometimes that can be pretty scary.

Mark Graban (18m 19s):
Yeah. Well, it opens, I mean, I think you have, as an author, it opens you up to negative reviews, right. You know, on Amazon or what have you that's stings. I don't have any children, but I'm sure it stings a parent to see a child criticized, even if it's constructive, because there's that sense of, Hey, that that's part of me. Right?

Kim Thompson-Pinder (18m 46s):
Well, the truth is, and, and I teach this in my courses so quickly go through it here about 10 to 15% of people will absolutely love your book will become your brand ambassadors. And we'll tell everybody to read the book on the bottom end, let's say you could write a perfect book, what you can't by the way. So get that out of your brain. But let's say you could write a perfect book. There would still be 10 to 15% on the bottom who hate you, hate your message, hate your book, and actively promote against it. So I just tell my clients, forget that bottom 10 to 15%, it's going to happen. You're going to get some of those negative reviews, but to be honest, the top, that top 10, 15%, that's who you write the book for, they're going to look at those reviews and wildly defend you, right?

Kim Thompson-Pinder (19m 33s):
Because they're like, this person doesn't understand. They have no clue what they're talking about. How dare they say that. Right. So don't, you're going to get it, just accept it, ignore it, leave it alone. Right. It's not worth even fighting boat because you can't change their mind anyway. And just focus on that 10 to 15% that that book is going to change their life.

Mark Graban (19m 53s):
Yeah. And I think of, you know, my, my most recent book, which is called measures of success, I I've, you know, I've gotten to know some of those top 10 or 15%, really strong advocates of the book. And they've shared their stories about how the book has helped them and their business. And that far outweighs, you know, I don't have it memorized, but like, you know, the one-star review that said something to the effect of, I didn't learn anything from this book. And I threw it right into the garbage, which I'm like, wait a minute. That, you know, that seemed like somebody who had a different agenda, because if I bought a book and hated it so much, I might send it back for a refund.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (20m 33s):
Well, you got to understand too, that, you know, when you start becoming known other people in your field get jealous. And I have heard a lot of stories of people who, you know, who have bought books with the intention of leaving horrible one-star reviews because they do the same thing and they want to tear you down. And that's, that can happen. I've I've written books on many different business topics. And I remember one, one star review, and I just gotta be careful because of the business I was in at the time. I can't really say a lot because of trademark and copyright and all that, but it was a specific business topic that was clearly spelled out in the title of the book.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (21m 20s):
So the theme of the book, like the title was not cryptic. It was a very key word filled book. So very specific. And I remember I got one, one star review that said, well, I didn't know, this book was going to be about the title. Right. Yeah. Right. So yeah. That's it happens. You can't let it emotionally affect you. Yeah. Yeah.

Mark Graban (21m 46s):
That's a, that's definitely good advice. So, so one other question, before I ask about the upcoming book. So back back to your phrase, the extraordinary word ninja, like where, where, what, what was the moment like, what was the epiphany or the moment where that phrase popped into your head and you ran with it?

Kim Thompson-Pinder (22m 6s):
I can't really remember exactly when that happened, but I just knew I needed to differentiate myself within a two to three hour geographical area of where I lived. And, you know, up to this year, I spent a lot of time going to conferences and networking meetings. And a lot of things like that locally, there were a couple of big people who, while they don't do it, as well as I do, but they did what I did. And they were more well known than I was. So they got a lot more business and I knew I needed to differentiate myself. I had to. So I started actually working on the title and I tried all sorts of different things.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (22m 48s):
And, you know, I tried them out with people and they didn't resonate. They didn't resonate with me. And I remember one day someone used the word ninja and I'm like, Ooh, I like ninjas. Right. And then it was like, Ooh, Worden and Jen, and that, of course you have to up a little bit. So not only am I the word ninja, but I'm the extraordinary word ninja, and I can own it because I've written over 150 books between myself and my clients. So I can say that I'm the extraordinary board ninja. Sometimes I can write thousands of words in the day. So, you know, if, if you're going to give yourself a title, make sure it's one that you can own with confidence.

Mark Graban (23m 32s):
And it, it seems to resonate or any time about, you know, that phrase, ghost writing and people don't know the ghost. Is there, I guess a ninja operates in the shadows. Just the same.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (23m 45s):
Yeah. I'd never thought about that. That's really good. I'll have to write that down. Okay.

Mark Graban (23m 48s):
Okay. Well good. So, and Kim Thompson-Pinder on the extraordinary word ninja, that's fun to say as well. She has a podcast author to authority, upcoming book. It's going to be out real soon. After the release of this episode, you can find that all and Kim maybe final question. I'm I know you've got this. Well-defined when you were talking earlier about an author, thinking of your book, who is it for? Who does it serve? How would you articulate that for your book author to authority?

Kim Thompson-Pinder (24m 26s):
So if you are an entrepreneur, if you're a small business owner and not so much brick and mortar, but there are elements of that, that you can apply to a brick and mortar business, but more someone who's more like a service provider would be a very good type of entrepreneur for this book professionals at all levels, coaches, speakers, they would really benefit from the book and by focusing in on those six areas. So the beginning of the book lays the foundation. And then, you know, the last half of the book is, you know, now you've laid this foundation, you've got things going, how do you just ramp it up?

Kim Thompson-Pinder (25m 13s):
You know, how do you take it to the next level? And so one of the concepts we talk about is one to one and one to many, most times when you're beginning to build your business, the best way is one-to-one. First of all, it doesn't cost you a lot of money. You don't need a website, you don't need all this fancy stuff. You just need to know, you know, the answer to those three core marketing questions have a product that meets that need and learn how to sell it through conversations. And that creates a foundation, but it does hit a time in your business. If you want to ramp up, if you want to take things to the next level, you move to the one to many model where you're doing something once and it's going out to many people and bringing back results.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (25m 55s):
So me being on this podcast is the one to many model. I do it once with you. And then it goes out to your entire audience. We'll go out to my audience, as I share it with them. And it increases, my authority increases your authority. You know, it works together to help promote me, but also I just love to provide value. So that's why I love coming on these podcasts.

Mark Graban (26m 20s):
Well, it sounds like it's a great, it sounds like the book is going to be really helpful to, to a lot of people. I can already think of a couple of friends and colleagues. I will probably recommend it to and have them check out what you're doing. So again, our guest here has been Kim Thompson-Pinder. I'm going to say it once more because it is fun to say she is the extraordinary word ninja, but let that sink into your head. Save with repetition. That helps reinforce, reinforce that. And again, her website is, well, you can find author two and then RTI publishing house. The website for that, Kim is

Kim Thompson-Pinder (27m 2s):, but Is the best website because that really, you know, if you're looking to increase your business, that's the website that you're going to go to. That's where you're going to find blog posts and podcasts and all that kind of stuff. Okay.

Mark Graban (27m 16s):
Okay. Very good. And do, and please do check out our podcast also titled Author to Authority. So Kim, it's been a pleasure meeting you and thank you for sharing great thoughts and adding value here as an extraordinary guest.

Kim Thompson-Pinder (27m 30s):
Well thank you for having me on Mark. I've really enjoyed this conversation. You were a wonderful host and you asked great questions.

Mark Graban (27m 39s):
Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for listening. I hope this podcast inspires you to pause and think about your own favorite mistake and how learning from mistakes shapes you personally and professionally. If you're a leader, what can you do to create a culture where it's safe for colleagues to talk openly about mistakes in the spirit of learning, please subscribe, rate, and review the podcast. Our website is See you next time.

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.