What it Takes to Be Free: Darius Foroux on entrepreneurship, business success and self-publishing his new book

By   Hannah Bickerton 5 min read

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Darius Foroux is the author of six books, including the bestsellers Think Straight and What It Takes To Be Free. Since 2015, he’s been sharing his thoughts about life, business, and productivity on his blog. Over 30 million people have read his articles. You can read his free weekly articles here.

Tell us a little about your career as an entrepreneur and writer – how did you start your online business and ensure profitability? 

I started my first business in 2010 when I was writing my master’s thesis. That had nothing to do with writing, but because the business was bootstrapped, I was forced to do a lot of things myself.

I learned how to build a website, write copy, start an email list, persuade, network, negotiate, and most importantly: how to be productive.

By 2015, I had built a substantial skillset that I used to start my writing career. Within six months, I had published a book, built a website and had an email list of around 5,000 people. 

Because I had learned all those business skills, I approached my website as a business. So even though my main focus is to provide value to my readers, I also had my own products. I also launched an online course, ‘Procrastinate Zero’, in the same year. 

The book and the course helped me to be profitable from the start. By the third year of the website, I was generating six figures with multiple books, courses, and paid articles. 

What can readers expect to learn from your new book What It Takes to Be Free?

They can expect a framework for achieving personal freedom. I believe that freedom is the highest aim in life. It’s the most important thing to us humans. If you strip down all our desires and needs to the core, it all leads to freedom.

I didn’t realize that until recently. Everything I did in my life was to become free. We all want to live our life the way we want to, spend time with people we love, and do work that we enjoy. And that’s definitely possible. It only has a price. 

What are the four main topics your work focuses on? 

In short, my work focuses on four main topics:

  • Productivity: How can we achieve more without sacrificing our well-being?
  • Habits: What habits can make our lives better, and how can we shape them?
  • Decision Making: How can we make life/career decisions we won’t regret?
  • Personal Finance: How can we build wealth without sacrificing our energy?

I focus on these topics because they have a big impact on our lives. And based on the feedback I’ve received, a lot of readers agree. Last month alone, more than one million people read my articles. 

You are a successful entrepreneur, author, blogger and podcaster. Over the course of your career what have you learnt in terms of business success – do you have any tips for starting your business, making big money and succeeding in the business world? 

This is something a lot of people don’t like to hear, and when successful entrepreneurs told me this in the past, I also didn’t like it: ‘Don’t focus on money if you want to succeed in business.’ 

It’s funny because most people think the purpose of a business is to make money. I think the purpose is to provide value. If you provide a lot of value, the money will follow naturally. 

Your work focuses on how to train the mind to achieve personal and professional success. What five tips can you offer readers for self-improvement in terms of personal development and success? 

1. Set goals: You need to know where you’re going. If you don’t have goals, make something up. That will give you a sense of direction. You can always adjust along the way.

2. Improve your productivity: Learn how to get more done in the same amount of time. This will make you more effective than most people.

3. Manage your energy: This is one of those topics that doesn’t get enough attention. To do great work, you need to feel good mentally and physically.

4. Build positive habits: Having positive habits will help you to be consistent. And consistency is important if you want to be successful.

5. Remove distractions: You can do all the above things, but if you have a lot of distractions in your life, you won’t get anywhere. Put yourself in a position to succeed. You can’t do that if you’re interrupted every five minutes.

As a self-published author, what is your opinion on the future of publishing? Do you think there is big money to be made in self-publishing?

I think self-publishing is getting more sophisticated. The best example of this is David Goggins. His book is a world-wide bestseller and received a lot of attention from mainstream media outlets. With his book, there’s no way a reader can tell it was self-published. The days of ‘traditionally published books are better’ are over. 

Furthermore, in terms of money, it’s better for authors. Instead of getting 10 per cent royalties, you get 70 per cent and even close to 100 per cent if you sell it on your own site. That means you have to sell fewer books to make the same amount of money. But it also means you make more money if you sell more. 

What was your experience of self-publishing – was it a simple process? 

It’s a difficult and tedious process. There are a lot of steps to launching a book. Writing the actual book is probably the most straightforward step! Bringing the book into readers’ hands is the hardest part. You’re competing with millions of other books, but also with blogs, the news, not to mention Netflix. People have limited time and you have to make a case for why they should read your book.

My goal with self-publishing is to make it look like it was traditionally published. I’m getting more professional with each book I publish. The more money I make, the more I invest in my books. 

And finally, what are you reading at the moment? 

One of my favourite books is Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. It’s a book about negotiation but has many business lessons, too. I’ve already re-read it twice this year and I’m now reading Start With No by Jim Camp. It was published in 2002 but it talks about similar concepts. 

To find out more about Darius, head to his website, Twitter or follow him on Instagram. You can buy What it Takes to be Free and all of Darius’ titles now  on Amazon now.

Hannah Bickerton
Hannah Bickerton
Hannah has worked in marketing for nine years, specialising in strategy development for start-ups and EdTech companies. Having recently jumped across industries to join the Whitefox team, Hannah isn’t a complete stranger to the publishing world with previous employment at Macmillan and TES Global. She is now dedicated to ensuring that anyone who has something interesting to say knows all about whitefox.