Books Open Insights #14: Find Your Zone of Genius to Create More Joy, More Time, And More Money in Your Business with Ellen Violette

March 16, 2021

In this episode, I share how to find your zone of genius, why you MUST operate from it, and how it can help you work less and make more money in your business, and bring more peace and joy to your life!

Resources mentioned

5 Day Bestseller Breakthrough Challenge

One-on-on Coaching or Ghostwriting

Facebook Group

3 Key Points

Every entrepreneur must figure out what their zone of genius to design a business that supports their joy and their life and write books that support it.

When something comes easily to you , you may not recognize that it is zone of genius because it is so natural for you, you may not believe that others will pay you to teach them or do it for them.

We often stop ourselves from operating in our zone of genius because of money constraints or feeling like we should do certain tasks because we can. This thinking can burn us out and stop us from being our best selves, serving as many people as we can, and making the money we deserve.


Hi, I’m Ellen Violette. And in today’s training, I want to talk about your zone of genius. So, to me, the zone of genius is something where when you do it, you are completely in the flow, you love what you doing, you lose track of time, it’s your superpower. It’s the thing that people should pay you a lot of money to do because you’re better at it than anybody else. You do it in a unique way, and it can’t be replicated by anybody else. And it takes advantage of those natural talents. And that’s why it’s called the zone of genius. And you make the most money when you stay in your zone of genius. The problem is, is that some people don’t know what their zone of genius is, or they can’t figure it out or what they do so easily that they can’t see it because it comes so easily to them.

[00:57]: And so,  they think it’s no big deal. They think, well, why should anybody pay me to do this? It’s so easy to do, but just because it’s easy for you to do doesn’t mean it’s easy for other people to do. And I’ve had this conversation with a lot of people, but one, in particular, was one of my web people and she’s just a genius at tech. And when I was learning Optimize Press, she would go in there and try to help me. And then she would say, “Oh, this is so easy.” And I would say, “It’s so easy for you, but it’s not so easy for me because my brain doesn’t work this way.” I’m a creative. And I think more about the big picture and I get really stressed out over details, especially when it’s technical and I’m just not good at it. As a matter of fact, sometimes when it comes to putting something together, you know, physically or something like from Ikea or a new appliance that we get, I know my husband can look at it and he’ll know exactly how to put it together.

[01:52]: I’ll look at it and I won’t have a clue because our brains just work differently. So, I want to go over the four zones so that you can start to get a clear idea of what the different tasks are and where they fall in the line of competence to incompetence. And I’m hoping that that will help you to get more clear on where you should be. Where is your zone of genius? And so in The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks talks about the four zones and the first one is incompetence. And this is when you spend your time doing things you’re not good at and stuff that you don’t enjoy. And for a lot of us creatives, that’s tech stuff. And I understand that, sometimes, it’s difficult to get it off your plate because it can be expensive to hire good people. And so, you end up doing things that you’d rather not be doing, and that you’re not good at because you don’t have a choice in the beginning, or you think you don’t have a choice.

[02:51]: But the truth is that we always have a choice because, first of all, there are sites like Fiverr, where you can find people inexpensive starting at like seven bucks, something like that. And the other way is to another way is to barter is to find somebody who needs what you have. And the third way is to really step it up and hustle so that you are doing what’s in your zone of genius so that you have the money to pay somebody else. And so, sometimes, it’s not that we can’t get that. It’s that you’re in a lack-of- abundance mindset. And I know cause I’ve been there myself at times. So as I said, creatives love to create new things and work on big ideas. Tech people love the details and the minutia, the stuff that drives us crazy. So, why not let them do what they’re good at?

[03:44]: You do what you’re good at. And one of the things that John Assaraf says is find somebody who thinks that job that you hate doing is fun. When it’s fun for them, they’re in their zone of genius. And then you can stay in your zone of genius.

So, the next one is competence, and that’s where you can get the job done, but not really any better than anybody else could do it. And this can be iffy because if you don’t stand out and you can’t differentiate yourself in the marketplace, then it’s going to be difficult to make money doing it. But also, it’s not something you love doing. So, one of the things I’ve learned along the way working with a lot of authors and for myself too, is that if we don’t love what we’re doing, we don’t usually want to stick to it. And a lot of times, we won’t stick to it. So, that’s why it’s important to know that this is not your zone of genius. Like you’re good at it, you can do it, but it doesn’t set you apart. It doesn’t differentiate you and you’re not really loving it.

[04:47]: The next one is the zone of excellence. So, this is a zone where you’re doing something you’re really good at compared to most other people, but you still don’t really enjoy doing it. And sometimes, we get sucked into this because we think simply because we’re great at it we should do it. And If you’re saying, “I should do this,” that’s a problem because you don’t want to do it. And so, again, it’s not going to be exciting, it’s not going to keep you motivated, and the worst part is, is that it can drain your energy. And that’s not a good thing.

So, you want to ask yourself, “Do I enjoy doing this? Do I want to spend my days doing this? Does it give me energy or does it drain my energy?” And sometimes, you love what you’re doing, but you don’t love the way you’re doing it. And you get confused because you’re so good at it and you can do it. Again, it goes back to the should. So, you think you should do it, but you really don’t want to do it. And this is a hard place to be because, you know you can do it and you know you’re excellent at it, and you know people may even want to pay you for it, but if you don’t enjoy doing it, you know, that’s all we have is time. And so, you want to spend your time doing what you love and creating a lifestyle that you love. And this is not going to get you there.

So finally, there’s this zone of genius. And that is when you’re in the flow. You’re using your talents, you’re doing what you love. It gives you that extra special magic dust. You know, that when you talk about the way you do things or what you do, you really do stand out from other people, from the competence. And you know, this be really difficult to figure out. I was thinking about this a lot when I was creating an elevator speech for myself. And in the beginning, it was easy because I was the first ebook coach, like when I got into ebook coaching and I focused on that because nobody was doing it at the time, and I really wanted to do digital publishing.

[7:00] And so all I had to do was say, “I’m the ebook coach.” And I, everybody knew that that was me and it was real easy. But then over time, what happened was, is that books and ebooks became the same. first of all. It’s like, we just write a book and then put them in different formats. And the other thing that happened was that more and more people got into the space. And so then it’s like, “Okay, well now I’ve got to find another way to differentiate myself because I don’t want to call myself The eBook Coach, because, first of all, I’m doing books and eBooks. And second of all, when you do a keyword search, you’ll find that there are about three times more people searching for books than eBooks.”

[07:43]: So, if I was just doing ebooks, I was limiting my reach by two thirds. So, that didn’t make any sense anymore to do that. So, then you’ve got to say, “Okay, so how else do I differentiate myself? What’s different?” So, I started thinking about my signature program, which is my Write your Bestseller in 7 Days Boot camp. Well, that separates me because that is something particular. And then I thought, “Okay, well, what else, what else separates me?” And it’s like, okay, well, a lot of book coaches, they’ll just tell you, find your why. And then they say, do a brain dump;  that’s not how I work at all. So,  I started saying, “Well, what makes me different is I get people to think about their mindset.” And the irony of that is, is that I’ve always done that from day one. I was actually looking at some of the testimonials, not that long ago when I was making a new sales page. And one of them said, one of the things they loved about my boot camp was before we start writing, I really make people get into the mindset first.

[8:42] And then I also get people to start marketing before they write a single word in my boot camp. So, I don’t know of anybody who does the combination of things that I do and also has that ability to be really creative and also has the analytical side. So, I have a pretty balanced brain. So, all those things set me apart. And for a long time, I didn’t know how to say what I just told you. Like, I didn’t quite understand that those are the things that put me in my zone of genius when people are in my boot camp. So, you really have to examine what you love, what you do really great, and then, how is it different from what else is in the marketplace? so that you can explain it to other people.

[09:34]: But of course you can’t explain it to other people if you aren’t clear about it yourself. So that’s why you’ve got to get clear about it yourself. Okay? And you would think that people would know to stay out of their zone of incompetence, but it’s not true. So, think about it. I mean, how many times have you spent time doing something that you shouldn’t be doing? Whether it’s social media-related or, you know, CRM related tech-related, whether it’s formatting a book, and I’ve seen people do this all the time. They say, “I don’t have a lot of money, so I’m going to format my own book.” I’m like, “Don’t format your own book because first of all, it’s a technical skill and it can take a lot of time.” And like one time I was talking to Lori Morgan and she was saying, even with her team, it took them like forty hours to format her book.

[10:26]: And forty hours of her time was worth a ton of money. Okay? So if she was even charging, I think he was charging more than this, but a thousand dollars an hour, that would be like $40,000 that she lost in a week if she spent all that time doing that. Now I’m not saying that you can charge what she’s charging, but I’m just saying that whatever your zone of genius is, you can make a lot more money doing that and paying somebody else to format your book then you taking the time to format your book. So, that’s one place where people will do that, but maybe it’s designing a webpage, you know, teaching yourself or learning how to design a webpage, unless you’re using a program and software that’s really easy to use.

[11:11] And even with Optimized Press, you know, I learned how to use it. But I still am not a designer. So I’ll go in there and I’ll put all of my tax stuff, but then I still give it to my designer and say, “Make it pretty,” because I can’t do that. And what it would take for me to learn that is just a waste of time. But I do the text because I figured out that when I write out all the text and give it to my guy, and then have him go into it, it takes way more time than if I just do it in there right the first time, or if I do the same thing in Click Funnels.

So, you have to figure out what are the things that you can do faster by doing it yourself and what are the things that you’re just wasting time. And you’re not in your zone of genius where you could be making a lot more money somewhere else. So, just know though that you’re not alone. Like if you find yourself doing things that you shouldn’t be doing, we’ve all been there. So, the best way out of it though, is to figure out as quickly as possible what is your zone of genius and figure out how to get paid for it, and then outsource what you shouldn’t be doing or finding a way to automate it. And actually, last week we talked about scaling with Shahrez Hayder and he was saying, you want to automate first and outsource last.

[12:36]: So to go back a little bit, what I was saying, the other thing people tend to get stuck in is when you know, you could be good at something and you feel obligated to explore it and invest time and resources in it, but in reality, it’s taking you out of your zone. So, you’re too good at too many things. And so you get confused and can’t choose where the zone of genius is. So for me, I had been thinking about offering ghostwriting in my business for quite a while. I actually did some ghostwriting with a client of mine quite a while ago and it was really out of necessity because he had written a book and the book was very detailed and he wanted a consumer book; it was on bodybuilding. He wanted a book that would open it up to more people, but it was so detailed and not for the general public at all.

[13:26]: And so, I knew we needed a prequel,, but I also knew if I told him to go off and write it, he was just not capable of doing it in a way that was going to be simple. And so I said to him, “Let’s do it in interview style and I’ll just interview you, and then we’ll turn it into a book.” And he said, “Okay, when do you want to do that?” And I said, “Right now.” He was like, “What?” And I said,  “Yeah, right now,” because I didn’t want him to think about it. So, we did that. We started recording it right then. And this was a short one. And when it was all done, he was just blown away by how easy it was, because he didn’t have time to think about it. He just answered the questions that I asked him and, and we got it done.

[14:03]:  So, I knew I could do that, but I kept thinking about offering services like that, it’s very time-consuming. “So, how am I going to scale that? And also what’s my zone of genius?” And so, my zone of genius is really in the setup, in the marketing research,  in the setting the outline up for people with them and then interviewing them because I’m good at listening and pulling out the right information that they need in order to write a book that’s going to flow. So I could write them for them. As a matter of fact, I have been writing one for one of my partners that we did in a trade and I’m good at it, but am I better at that than a lot of other people? I don’t know, but I know that I always enjoy doing the research and interviewing, so if I don’t want to write them, or feel it will take too long to write them, I can hand off to other writers, but I can’t hand off my genius to somebody else.

[14:51]: And you can’t hand off your genius to anyone else either. So, by figuring out which parts of it were the parts that I am a genius at, I hate that word, but that’s my superpower or whatever. And then figuring out what I could give to other people, we could actually take on a lot more clients and we could scale it. So, you know, I hope that gives you kind of an example of that you could follow to figure out the same thing for yourself. And I doing this since 2004. So, why didn’t I figure this out sooner? Right? Because I wasn’t clear what my zone of genius was. And I wasn’t clear about being competent versus being in the zone of genius, being in my passion, and setting it up so that it’s something that I love to do and look forward to doing.

[15:43]: So, once you figure that out, it makes your life and your business a lot easier. So, what you want to do is look at your passions, and your skills, and your interests as people who know you, what they think you’re good at. Sometimes, as I said, you know, we’re good at something, but it comes so easily that we don’t realize that it’s a zone of genius, and we might actually just dismiss it and overlook it. And then where they overlap is where you’re going to find your zone of genius. So, what do you have years of experience doing? What do you have an affinity for? What do you enjoy? Who do you enjoy? How do you want to do it? And when you find the answers to those questions and it checks all the boxes, then you’re in your zone of genius. But I have one caveat and that is that the purpose of business is to make money.

[16:35]: And sometimes, we look to our business like a lover, right? Like we want it to do everything for us. We want to love it. And we want it to love us back. And we want it to fulfill all our needs. And it can’t always do that. So, for some people, their business is the calling and for others, it isn’t for some people, their business is a passion and for others, it isn’t. Like Russell Brunson talks about how marketing is his calling. Suzanne Evans talks about how her business is not her passion. She loves her business and she enjoys it, but it’s not her passion. Her passion is her son, her partner, and as she loves to say a seven- course meal. So, part of my problem was I used to confuse the two. Like I wanted my business to give me everything, to make me completely happy.

[17:23]: And what I learned is that not every part of your business is going to make you happy. So, the more you can stay in the parts of your business that do make you happy, great. But that doesn’t mean you’re never going to have to do things that you don’t love doing. And especially if you’re at the place where you don’t quite have the resources to outsource all the things and automate all the things that you don’t want to do, then you definitely have to do some things that are going to help get you there. And so, again, I would just really encourage you to figure out what your zone of genius is, and then figure out how to get everything off your plate through automation or outsourcing that is not in it and is not part of how you want to spend your days and spend your life, and then create your business moving forward from now, so that it runs smoothly, it gives more profits to your business and you love your business and you love your life.

[18:28] And you’re a speaker coach, or heart-centered entrepreneur with a message if you have expertise, a proven system, an area of genius that you want to get out to the world in a bigger way to make a bigger impact, more money and leave a lasting legacy,  I want to encourage you to write a book.

And to get started. I like to invite you to the next 5 Day Bestseller Breakthrough Challenge at the end of April, where I’ll take you through from idea to creating your outline, so, you’re ready to write your book quickly and easily and with total confidence that it will open doors and take your business to the next level. To get on the waitlist, go to That’s to register. You’ll get the details as soon as they become available.

[19:23]: Or, if you’d like to work with me one-on-one or have us ghostwrite a book for you, you can send an email to Ellen at and the subject line “book writing.” We’re happy to set up a time to talk.

You’re also welcome to join our Facebook group, There’s also the link to that on the podcast page and in the group, you’ll get ongoing tips, strategies, networking, and trainings. And if you don’t have it yet, be sure to grab your copy of Book Planner Secrets, a Simple 4-Step Guide to Writing a Bestseller also on the podcast page. If you’re not there that is

And be sure to join us next week when my guest is Pat Knauer who will be talking about why small businesses fail to thrive and what you must do to get past the start-up phase of your business and grow.

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time Bye-bye.


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About the Author

Ellen Violette

Ellen is an 3X award-winning book, including being named one of the Top 20 Book Coaches of 2022 by Coach Foundation. She's also a multiple #1 bestselling author, a 3-time eLit award winner, podcast host, and a Grammy-nominated songwriter. She has been helping entrepreneurs increase their credibility and expert status, become #1 bestselling authors, and make a bigger impact in the world since 2004. Her mission is to make the world a better place one author and one book at a time!



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