About Charlie

My name is Charlie Hoehn (rhymes with ‘phone’). I’m 28 and I live in Austin, Texas.

Over the past few years, I’ve worked with more than a dozen best-selling authors, helping them market (and sometimes create) their books. Nowadays, I’m working on my own books. Just released the first two — Play It Away and Recession Proof Graduate – and there’s another on the way.

I believe everyone has work that makes them come alive, that naturally brings out their inner joy. That’s the kind of work I focus on, while trying to help others find it for themselves. I admire entrepreneurs and artists who try to make the ride better for everyone. But above all, I believe in cutting through complexity and confusion with simple truths – the common sense that isn’t so common.

Below are some of the projects I’ve worked on…

Play It Away

In May of 2013, I published a lengthy post called How I Cured My AnxietyWithin two weeks, the post was read and shared by tens of thousands of people. I received hundreds of messages from anxiety sufferers all over the world. The article shot up to the #1 position on Google for the search phrase “cure anxiety” – right above Oprah.com.

My post was honest, but it was incomplete. It didn’t contain everything that helped me; only my first major breakthrough. I wanted to share all of the techniques that put my life back on track and healed my pain. So I wrote a book called Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety (available in paperback, Kindle, iBooks, and PDF).

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The 4-Hour Body

For three years, I was Tim Ferriss’ protégé and “Director of Special Projects.” I had the good fortune of helping him edit and market The 4-Hour Body. The book went on to sell more than 775,000 copies in North America, it hit #1 on the New York Times and Amazon.com bestseller lists, and is still in the top 10 most highlighted books on Amazon.

For the pre-launch, I was the producer and strategist for The Land Rush campaign, which resulted in more than 15,000 copies of the book being sold in 72 hours. I was also the primary point of contact for more than 10,000 customers and dozens of sponsors.

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Recession-Proof Graduate

In 2009, I wrote a 30-page guide called Recession-Proof Graduate. After landing a handful of dream gigs, I wanted to help other college graduates who were struggling to find meaningful work — or any work — during the recession.

The e-book has been downloaded more than 150,000 times since its release, helping countless people (young and old) land jobs and find direction in their careers. Here are some testimonials I’ve gathered over the years.

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TEDx Talks

I’ve been invited to speak at two TEDx events: Carnegie Mellon University and Mission San Jose High School.

The 17-minute talk at CMU about “The New Way to Work” has been viewed more than 80,000 times. The 18-minute talk at MSJHS about “The 4 Mistakes You’ll Make in College” has been viewed more than 3,500 times.

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I Will Teach You to be Rich

In 2009, I helped Ramit Sethi create and execute the marketing strategy for his personal finance book I Will Teach You to be Rich. The book hit #1 on Amazon (displacing the Twilight series), and also hit the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

This was my first book launch, where I had the opportunity to manage a team, run webinars, set up email funnels, and create a book trailer.

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I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell Tour

In 2009, I went on a nationwide 31-city movie tour with Tucker Max, shooting and editing funny videos to help promote the film I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. Every day, I got to work with high-end gear, edit footage in Final Cut Pro, and crack up at the one-liners Bill Dawes came up with on the fly. Easily one of most fun jobs I’ve ever had.

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Opening The Kimono

In 2011, I was the producer and head event planner for “Opening the Kimono” — Tim Ferriss’ 3-day book marketing seminar in Napa Valley, with over 130 attendees. I managed a team alongside Susan Dupré. Prior to our event, Susan worked directly with Steve Jobs as Apple’s “Worldwide Event and New Product Producer” (she launched the original iPhone, for chrissakes!)

After several weeks of preparation, hammering out the broad strokes while accounting for all the minutiae, the event went off without a hitch and surpassed all expectations.

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App Empire Course

In 2012, I was the director and marketing advisor for the App Empire course, which earned $2.6 million in revenue over the course of 10 days. I helped Chad Mureta plan the 2-day shoot, write the outline, direct the course, edit the footage, and launch the product.

The 7-disc course was purchased by 1,200 customers. I also created an email drip sequence to maximize retention and minimize refunds (8%).

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Negotiate It iPhone App

I was the head developer for Negotiate It, an iPhone app I created alongside Ramit Sethi, which helps users save money on monthly bills and fees by using field-tested negotiation scripts. You can read exactly what I went through during the development process in this post.

The app has been featured by O MagazineCBS New York, Women’s Health Magazine, and Lifehacker.

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The Slow-Carb Diet™ Cookbooks

I was the producer and editor for Volumes 1 and 2. Each book sold out of its limited run (1,000 copies) in 24 hours.

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Videographer

I write, shoot, and edit videos — for authors, startups, comedians, and more. I’ve been editing videos and creating corporate presentations for nearly a decade. I started a video-editing business in 2004, making slideshows for weddings, banquets, family events, sports teams, etc. I’ve traveled around the United States shooting promotional videos, helped edit both low- and big-budget trailers for books, and directed multi-disc products.

I also studied videography for years: taking courses on narrative film, religion in film, contemporary television, Hitchcock, photo journalism, photography, and video editing throughout college and high school.

See some of my videos here.

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Editor for Tim Ferriss’ Blog

While I was working for Tim, I often edited guest posts for his blog (which gets over 1 million readers per month). Here are some of the posts I’ve worked on.

My written and spoken content has also been featured in these online publications:

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Click the image to read more of my press mentions

Virtual Intern for Seth Godin

In the summer of 2008, myself and a dozen other students across the globe took direction from the world’s greatest online marketer, helping him develop early content for Squidoo.com. I also co-created an online film school… which was a complete flop. Good learning experience, of course.

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If you’re an entrepreneur or an artist who’s trying to make the world a better place… feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment below.

Comments

  1. SB says

    Charlie!

    Reading through your blog inspired me to make a blog of my own about a subject that I’m passionate about. I’m serious. Thank you so much.

    I look forward to reading your future posts!

    Sincerely,
    A fan from Orange County, CA

  2. Kevin says

    Hey man – always good to meet a fellow entrepreneur, particularly one who has such a diverse blend of interests. Keep on trucking.

    Kevin

  3. kim says

    hey, charlie –
    i work for kyle and i met you a couple of weeks ago. i just wanted to let you know what a huge help your musings have been to us! we’re in the process of hiring a couple of people, as you know, and your timing and words of wisdom for both us and for our candidates (writing good email, buy low/sell high, etc.) couldn’t be more appropriate. i can’t begin to imagine how someone of your age has amassed the wisdom and the integrity to pull it all together, but THANKS!

    we can’t wait to find out what you’ll think of next,

    -kim-

  4. Wendy says

    Charlie!

    I randomly stumbled across your page while reading Tucker Max’s blog… sorry I missed you guys both in Atlanta and Athens, but you should come back soon! Oh, and I’m following you on Twitter now :)

  5. Amelia says

    Just saw a quote from you on swissmiss design blog… and as a ‘non-traditional’ MBA student (aka nonprofit loving, under experienced dreamer type), it made my day. Great career advice. Thanks for it. Keep up the ‘doing’ and ‘chasing’ good things.

  6. Khaiyong says

    Hi Hoehn’s,

    Came across your blog from one of Tim Ferris’s latest blog post (must have send surges of traffic here).

    Just want to say, love your musings man. It reminds me alot of Seth Godin’s blog. How is it like having to work for great minds like Tim, Seth and Ramit?

    Cheers
    Khaiyong
    From Malaysia

  7. Sharif says

    Peace,

    Just wanted to give you a shout out and say thanks for bookmarking my blog on delicious.com.

    I will definitely be checking out your blog as well…
    business & marketing, that is right up my alley.

    I will definitely appreciate hearing someone else’s take on online marketing strategies.

    Keep up the good work,

    Paz,
    Sharif

  8. Emily Pfau says

    So… Looks like I finally found you in your virtual home on the internets.. (I fully realize you gave me the address to your blog [is that what kids these days are calling them?] but it’s much more fun for me to pretend that I stumbled upon it..). I can’t help noting how very kind Virtual Charlie seems.. maybe I’ll meet him someday. Until then, keep up the good work.. if not for yourself.. than for me.

    • Charlie says

      Well well, look who decides to show up. Only took you two years this time! Not bad, considering your transition times to Gmail, Facebook, and other sites that have been embraced by the masses… (You do realize I have an easier time getting 60-year old mothers reading my stuff than you, right?)

      A part of me was waiting for this day, and considers this a victory. But a bigger part of me thinks that my perfectly good audience is now tainted. Sorry you couldn’t have this comment read back to you through a vent.

      I’ll talk to you soon, yea? Got some funny stories.

      • Emily Pfau says

        Let’s start the funny story email chain going again… Include that crazy red-head from Illinois – he had some good ones. and PS. Let’s give some serious consideration to Istanbul… I’m DEAD serious about it…

  9. michael Baker says

    Hi Charlie
    I recieved a confirmation email from you confirming that I have been selected for the “opening the kimono” 3 day exclusive which is awsome. I was just browsing the blog and clicked on your link. You have an amazing track record at such a young age. I have attached the link to my first blog which i did for the 4 hour body “geek to freak”. I was wondering if you could have a breif look at it and give me some critical feedback. I know it sucks atm, and want to make it more user friendly.
    http://scrawn2brawn.blogspot.com/
    Regards
    Michael Baker

  10. Marlee says

    Hi Charlie,

    Just smitten by your blogging skills and incredible value. You’re intelligent, inspiring, and innovative. Keep it up. ;)

    Marlee

  11. Kathy Ver Eecke says

    Hey Charlie:
    Heads up, just wrote a post about your great career advice in response to a reader’s question about how to get noticed by entrepreneurs. Quoted from the great interview with Lewis Homes and stole a pic of you from that site (hope that’s okay w/ you). Obviously included Recession Proof Grad links. It’s all great stuff! (your stuff, I mean…not mine! Though hopefully mine’s okay, too….)

  12. Ginger says

    On page 524 of The 4-Hour Body, under the picture of a receipt held up in front of a dog, could you clarify the caption underneath? It sounds like you bought a free-range black schnauzer from Whole Foods that you later ate at a bbq… Is this correct?

  13. Ginger says

    That’s pretty sick, animal cruelty is no joke. As an editor and contributor of this book did you not feel that this joke might be taken out of context and that some weirdo might actually try to BBQ a dog? The world is a troubled place and not everyone is of sound mind so the risk is very real. I wonder how many dogs have died because of your “joke” or will die and how far from the truth that joke really was for you. My friends and I will be returning our copies today and will encourage others to do so as well.

    • Charlie says

      Prepare to have your mind blown: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_meat

      Yes, there are other countries that eat dogs. Isn’t cultural relativism amazing?

      Seriously, there’s no polite way for me to respond to the above. I read your comment at least 25 times, trying to detect sarcasm. Alas, you’re clearly being serious.

      It’s preposterous to think a joke in a 600-page book would cause impressionable readers to cook their dogs. End of discussion.

  14. Nikolaus says

    Hey,

    I’ve read Tim’s post about his first contact to you and also your 12 steps to marketing the book. I’ve from there come across your blog and now seen your page. You’re 25 years old? Wow, that was news.

    My life seems less appropriate in some way for marketing one-self or a product and also for implementing the 4HWW-ideals, or at least that’s what I thought in the beginning.

    I am a med student, so my schedule is clear, I have exams that I can pass if I study hard and I have my job in the hospital for the next 40 years or so, and it’s pretty obvious that there is my future place. In contrast to what is proclaimed by the idea of the new rich, I actually am and will be a person offering full-time service for the rest of my life – which makes me happy, it is my way!

    But, exactly like you, Charlie, I am 25 years old and have so many ideas, dreams and also visions for now and the future. This is why in the last 2 years I’ve changed my life and made it radically mine! I’ve started and completed projects, I’ve eliminated (IMPORTANT!!!) and I’ve opened myself to a lot of great people, books and countries… I read your approach to Tim and think that is exactly what you’ve been doing too, you seem a very open-minded guy knowing what you want.

    I seldomly read about people our age, it’s mostly mid-thirties or beyond doing their stuff. Let’s be the future, a little bit at least.

    Big up and keep going, I’m impressed by your good work and I wish you all the best,

    Nikolaus

  15. nhattran97 says

    2 Charlie,
    It’s Nhat. What are your recommendation on the best books/courses in Internet Marketing? 10 or 20 twenty of your favorites are the best.

    Cheers,
    Nhat

  16. Nadia Chaudhry (@NadiaChaudhry) says

    I just watched you Tedx video. It was epic. Seriously, you’re awesomesauce. I’m so excited to use the free work idea. I just need to figure out who I want to target. I’m a writer and know a lot about internet marketing. Who were the people you contacted initially?

    Rockin,
    Nadia

  17. NSFW (@Tenure) says

    Wanted to echo Nadia’s comment above. Trying to figure out who to target for free work is the hard thing. I keep thinking, “Who actually has work that they would outsource for someone to do for free? Would they really trust putting that stuff out to some randomer on the internet? What work could they possibly have that I could do for them?”

  18. fez says

    Hey, Hello Charlie. I read your Recession Proof Graduate ebook, and it was very interesting, no doubt. However, I take some offense to you claiming to be not special, to your claims of just being a normal college grad. Why? Because most self-help success-stories do the same but barely divulge into HOW the person is able to claim that. It’s insulting, really.
    I, and everybody else, want to know your story. What obstacles did you go through, and how many times did you fall down? How did you figure things out? We want to really believe that you weren’t too extraordinary, and as a result believe in the solution you present. So please, tell us about the those bleak 8-10 months from around your graduation to the point of writing the ebook.

  19. Sheryl says

    Hey Charlie,
    Now I know the reason Tim’s blogs are so smooth to read, you add the glitters!! Marketing fascinates me too so I studied management. But I feel b-schools can’t make you entrepreneurs and it requires your own skills to form strategies in marketing. I usually help my friends with their business through my ideas & strategies but never knew even this could be a business until I saw your website through Tim’s blog. I’m so fond of his blogs (all in one place kinda blog) and his videos to hone my speaking skills (self growth & spirituality). Have too many queries about internet marketing & social media marketing but can you please recommend some books and how can I start up being a strategist? Thanks.

    • Charlie says

      Hey Sheryl- Thanks for the comment. Here’s an old list of books I recommend:

      Influence by Robert Cialdini – You could base every marketing plan you create solely on the principles of this book and still be devastatingly effective. If you understand the implications behind Cialdini’s research and can successfully apply them to your online marketing strategy… well, just prepare yourself for the frenzy you’re about to produce.

      The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout – This is my favorite marketing book for determining overall strategy in the beginning stages. If I’m helping with a big product launch or trying to decide what a company’s best course of action is over the long run, I re-read sections of this book. It’s simplistic, yes, but still very good. Buy this and take good notes — you’ll refer to it numerous times.

      The Long Tail by Chris Anderson – If I had to recommend just one book from this list, Long Tail would be it. I’d read the theory of Long Tail on wikipedia a few times, and thought I didn’t need to read the book. I was very wrong. To read Anderson’s book is to have a much better grasp on: the web’s economics, how the Internet really has changed business for the better, and how you need to tweak your old “brick and mortar” way of thinking. Although this isn’t technically a marketing book, you have to read it if you want a holistic understanding of how to approach online marketing.

      All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin – This is not my favorite book of Seth’s, but it lays down the ethics of marketing very well (which are absolutely essential). The most important thing a company can do is to be authentic. Embrace your story and you will win.

      The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – Great examples of how social epidemics start, and a lot of it falls under the word-of-mouth section of marketing. Mavens for online WOM are basically anyone with a sizable audience that listens. Approach them with respect.

      Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz – The author really understands the dynamics of online W.O.M., and his advice is simple, practical, and effective. I still think every company’s marketing strategy should strongly emphasize organic word-of-mouth. This book will show you how to get started.

      Purple Cow by Seth Godin – This book should be required reading for every marketer, entrepreneur, CEO, etc. It’s an approach to doing business, and it’s an approach to life. Make your ideas, products, and interactions with customers worth talking about.

      Made to Stick by Dan & Chip Heath – Excellent book. Learn how to make your marketing ideas memorable and stick with your target market. You need your messages to be Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and have a powerful Story.

      Positioning by Al Ries & Jack Trout – A bit old but still extremely important. Supplement The 22 Immutable Laws with this. You’ll realize how essential it is to be the first established brand in any market, as well as the influence of names (for products, companies, and even people). Read it free here.

      Permission Marketing by Seth Godin – In the grand scheme of things, I think this is one of the most impressive marketing books ever written. Seth is a visionary, and was touting these ideas years before anyone else. Permission is the superior way of marketing, and the big winners will be the ones who leverage it and de-emphasize Interruption marketing as their primary strategy.

      Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely – The number of easy-to-implement and highly-valuable ideas I derived from the first three chapters alone warrants a strong recommendation for this book. Ariely discusses the effectiveness of relative pricing, The Decoy Effect, and the power of giving things away for free.

      Pow! Right Between The Eyes! by Andy Nulman – Particularly good because of the amount of ideas and examples that are in the book. Steal the ideas, tweak them, and apply them to your company. Also, I love the attitude Andy has when it comes to marketing: sometimes you have to do things just because.

      Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin – Read this if you’re thinking your business must get in on this “web 2.0 thing.” It’ll prevent you from making some basic mistakes in your approach. Again, not Seth’s best book, but still required for anyone who doesn’t know anything about online marketing.

      Grapevine by Dave Balter – The authors break down all the lessons they’ve learned since founding BzzAgent, a company focused on word-of-mouth marketing. You’ll learn why buzz and viral aren’t good marketing strategies, and you’ll also find some ways to augment the WOM about your company.

      The Pirate’s Dilemma by Matt Mason – This book is great, and I think just as important as Long Tail in providing a better understanding of how business models will continue to change. Mason gives tons of relevant anecdotes about today’s open-source world, as well as many examples of guerrilla marketing. You can download the book for free here.

      The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss – If you read blogs, you’ve heard of the 4HWW. Tim emphasizes ruthlessly testing your marketing, measuring results, and testing some more. But what’s most important is that he suggests you find your market before you develop the product. This book shows you how to be a good marketer, and an effective entrepreneur.

      Sway by Ori & Rom Brafman – A good follow-up for Tipping Point. Very similar thematically, except I found Sway to be a more fun read. Great social psychology books are gems for marketers, and the Brafmans are dynamic writers.

      The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene – In short, how to treat your customers; everyone wants to be seduced. Reel them in with what you have to offer by focusing on the gaps. Find what they’re missing in their lives and present the solution to them in a way they can’t resist. It’s not conniving or unethical if you’re coming from a good place, which you always should be.

      Added in July 2013:

      Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday – This book reveals the ugly underside of how the web actually works. Everything you read online, including “reputable news,” is incentivized by how many page views and clicks the publisher thinks it will get. In other words, the web distorts reality so it can profit from the frantic attention you give it. Ryan does a great job showing how he manipulated bloggers and journalists to build massive PR campaigns from scratch.

      Your First 1,000 Copies by Tim Grahl – Excellent guide for authors on how to set up ongoing marketing for their books. I’ve been asked to write a guide like this for people who are self-publishing, and I think Tim did a much better job than I would have.

  20. Ethan lew says

    Hi Charlie,

    I’m Ethan, a young college student and aspiring entrepreneur. I’m staring my own website and wanted to chat with you about some marketing advice as well as general advice on my project.

    Let me know if you can talk,

    Thanks,

    Ethan

  21. Emmanuel Azobor says

    Congrats from Texas, Charlie! ( surprisingly, we have internet here) I have started reading your blog just yesterday and I’m impressed on how you have made a LIVING off doing the things you love. You convinced me to get off my sixteen year old butt and start a lifestyle as an entrepreneur. Problem is, I don’t know how or where to start. Have any general advice?

    • Charlie Hoehn says

      You have many years ahead of you, so the best advice I can give is: GO DO THINGS. Anything that interests you and will give you real world experience — do it for free, working for people who are really smart and in a position that you’d love to be in some day. Blog about your experiences, learn from your failures, and pay attention to how you feel while you’re doing the work (does it make you feel strong, overjoyed, etc.)

      Do work that’s cool and fun, that gives you a sense of play. Keep doing it. School won’t grade you for it — only you can give yourself permission to start becoming the person you want to be.

  22. Eric Mikowski says

    Came here on a link from Ramit Sethi’s site about how to research a guest post.
    I really like your About Page and the layout of your site. I’m new to blogging, and read about Seth Godin’s internship program a couple of weeks ago, and lo and behold you went through it. Keep up the good work.

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