Joshua Bains is a multi faceted Business leader, Entrepreneur, Author, Influencer, Social Media Writer, Ghost Writer, Journalist and father.
He currently runs his own content creation company under his own name. He offers clients services ranging from ghost writing to creating social media posts as part of his client's wider social media content strategy.
If there is one thing that makes Joshua Bains standout from the crowd, it is his ability to bring to life the stories of his clients in different formats of content.
In our interview with Joshua we explore his journey as a writer and content creator.
Hello Joshua. Thank you for participating in this Q&A session. We would like to start by exploring your origin story. Please give us an overview of your background and career journey to date?
Joshua: As a New York Times bestselling ghostwriter and content coach, I've spent many years helping leaders and influencers profit by revealing who they truly are. I offer my clients the Content Discovery: an in-depth, 60 minute Charlie Rose style interview. I transform this interview into a series of power-packed social posts. Of course, this isn't where I started. I'm from Riverside, California. I grew up camping in the desert, writing, acting, a Boy Scout. Then I travelled, rode a bicycle around Scotland, studied journalism, Judaism, digital marketing, and I am raising a beautiful family with, thank God, four AMAZING children...in my opinion, this is what it takes to become an author / ghostwriter who pens important stories for other people, that must be told.
What are the key challenges you have faced in your entrepreneurial journey and how did you navigate them?
Joshua: I've had to work to overcome my resistance to the hustle Kool-Aid, which is due to my academic, non-business background. Metrics are important, but I personally value meaning, creation for its own sake, work that matters and deep thinking. Surprise...at a certain point, none of that helps you build a business! Despite this, I've had some great opportunities. (In theatre, we call it God's choreography.)
What originally attracted you to a career in writing, and why have you chosen to specialise in ghost writing?
Joshua: I have my Mom to thank. In school, I started writing for the PTSA Reflections contest. She made it a "have to," and under her guiding hand I created at least one major written work every year for 13 years, starting in kindergarten. This gave me the ability to write by ear. To know, deep inside, how good writing is supposed to sound. It made the hard work of devising and reworking sentences a natural skill.
For about eight years I acted, too. Working in New Play Development at the Mark Taper Forum and LA Theatre Center, I performed in many staged readings. The most exciting was Neil Simon's play, The Dinner Party, with Henry Winkler...the Fonz!. I asked him for life advice. Winkler stopped smoking his cigar and said, "Josh, don't trust the fear. Trust your gut above everything else."
Acting and play development helped me approach ghostwriting from the point of view of the person I'm writing for, and my clients like that. After college I moved from pursuing acting to journalism. I received a Rotary Ambassadorial scholarship to get my journalism MA at the University of Hong Kong. I studied literary journalism under Gene Mustain, a career reporter and author of books on the gangster John Gotti. He inspired me to create powerful non-fiction; I lived in Nam-Wai village, and wrote my thesis on village urbanization, interviewing lawyers and members of the local community council--in Cantonese with a translator. Then I started interviewing everybody from a refugee Tibetan monks in India to a Champaign drinking elephant polo players in Hua Hin, the artificial limb builder in Chittagong, the blood-letter behind the Red Mosque in Delhi, terror survivors in the West Bank, native Americans in the Pacific North West, and Asuguan--the cannibal chief of the Dani tribe in West Papua New Guinea.
I wrote features at the Nation Newspaper in Bangkok under an editor who was hard as a tack, and later for outlets like the Jerusalem Post in Israel. Those experiences gave me the chops to record the words and ideas of CEOs, influencers...anybody who isn't going to eat me. After a stint as associate editor of the Yeshiva World News, I taught English and writing at Attires Yaakov high school in New York. Then, as my family grew, we moved to Atlanta went to write content for a digital media agency. While at first I thought I was slumming, I began to study the great sales writers, and created a series on the book 'Scientific Advertising', published in Ad Age. I got hooked on what makes copy "go to work on people," and used my position to play and test my sales and marketing, writing on client websites and social accounts.
The CEO once called me into his office to edit an accident-injury website. We were looking at a huge screen, moving words around, and suddenly I felt strangely at home. I realized editing with the CEO, which so many others find excruciating or impossible, is how I grew up. Finally, I took a class on book ghostwriting, and secured my first project quickly after leaving the agency. I saw in books a way to use both my long-form feature writing background, and the copywriting skills I'd acquired on the job. It also led naturally to my ghostwriting on LinkedIn.
What part has your career as a Writer played in your Entrepreneurial journey to date?
Joshua: In middle school, a working writer visited my class for career day. (My mother arranged it.) I wrote him a sentence. He handed me a dollar. "I'm publishing what you wrote," he said. "Now, you're a professional writer." Everybody wanted to be a writer that day. But I got the dollar. (And I still have it.)
While it’s great helping others bring their book ideas to life, have you written any books for yourself, and what are they about?
Joshua: I'm happy for my byline in the anthology Global Stories, Literary Journalism: The Best of Class. It's a story about my journey to Auschwitz, what I saw and how I felt. My next opus is still in process. It's a messy process, which is why I really understand what writers and authors go through as they struggle to create what Seth Godin calls "work that matters." Ironically, this whole mentality of 'Just Ship It' is often misplaced when it comes to creating work that matters. Great work that lasts takes the most guts. Because it takes the most time, expense and emotional toil. That's why I also offer Author Coaching to writers in process.
Has your entrepreneurial journey been influenced by any past or present business leaders?
Joshua: Jack London, William Zinsser, Strunk & White, Gay Talese, George Plimpton and any CEO who writes with a co-author. I think I've been more influenced by writers, adventurers and rabbis than business leaders. I learn a ton from my authors and anyone who I write content for--I just don't say who they are in public! I did create an excel sheet of all the greatest business books, why they're good, and what each one is ideally suited for. (Come to think of it, I should turn that into a LinkedIn post.)
You work for Shay Rowbottom Marketing as an Influencer and Social Media writer. Please give us an overview of what this role entails and how it relates to the organisation’s corporate goals and objectives?
Joshua: I started writing for Shay's executive clients at the beginning of her meteoric rise on LinkedIn, and I didn't realize how big or influential our company was going to get. Suddenly, Shay was in all the business magazines, and I was behind the scenes, helping our clients show up in writing. It's a role I've always seen as a privilege; unique people with very large followings are really counting on me to "stop the scroll" and say the right words creatively. Video is wonderful. It's hugely important, and nothing makes a connection with an audience in the same way. Social success can also come when you post genuine and well-crafted writing. From the beginning at SRM, we've put both of these ingredients together to make an impact for our executive and HNW clients.
What are you offering personally to clients, and what is your unique value proposition?
Joshua: After writing thousands of posts for HNW clients and executives under the leading names on LinkedIn, I'm finally offering my own social media ghostwriting service which can be broken down into the following;
1. The Content Discovery: This is ideal for LinkedIn, and includes an hour long interview with you, once a month, in which I capture your story, ideas and personality. You also get 8 story-posts per month, based on the interview.
2. The Post Package: -12 posts per month, based on your existing content.
Before concluding the interview is there anything else you would like to add?
Joshua: People need a way to get their stories into the world, both to build business and to put their mark on hearts and minds. I don't really believe in vanity-anything when it comes to writing for a client, because if you present them with heart--it's meaningful. I once wrote a feature story for a shoe repair man from Kazakhstan with a little shop in Far Rockaway. Everybody has a story. It's up to you what you do with it. You can monetize it, pass it down to your children, or keep it all to yourself. My battle cry is...at least write it down!
Thank you Joshua for participating in this Q&A session, we wish you all the best?
Joshua: Thank you so much for having me, and allowing me to tell my OWN story!
This article was original featured in Issue 9 of The Business Anecdote Magazines. You can read the magazine below ⬇️ ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️