Interview with Kim Kiyosaki, author of “It’s Rising Time”



Kim KiyosakiKim Kyosaki is a successful entrepreneur who was able to retire in 1994 thanks to the success of her business endeavours, but she couldn’t sit still for long. In 1997 with husband, Robert Kyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, she began travelling the world and imparting the secrets of her financial success.

Her particular focus is on empowering women to take control of their financial destiny. It is a theme she has addressed in both her books, Rich Woman, released in 2006, and in her recently published new book, It’s Rising Time! What it really takes for the reward of financial freedom.

You can listen to the audio podcast below.

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You can also check out the Skype video interview below

Transcript

NOTE: This transcript has been edited for your readability.

Valerie
Hi, Kim. Thanks for joining us today.

Kim
Oh thanks, Valerie. It’s so great to be with you.

Valerie
Now your book, your latest book It’s Rising Time! A Call for Women: What It Really Takes To Reach the Reward of Financial Freedom. Just first of all tell us why you wanted to write this book.

Kim
Well, my first book, Rich Woman, was really kind of a wake up call to let women know what was happening in terms of especially as we get older many of us find ourselves in dire financial straights. So, that book was more to let women know that you need to make a decision, they need to start taking control. So, that was more of a sales pitch going, “Hey, wake up,” a little bit of a shake up for women.

This book makes the assumption that women have already decided they’ve got to do something, or they’ve already down the road doing something. But, here’s why I wrote it, because so many women who I’ve come across when I travel all over the world, they’ll study, they’ll read a book, they’ll go to a seminar, they’ll study online, they’ll go to meetings. And, so they do all of their study and education and their research, but when it comes time to taking that action step, to actually do something and put some money on the table, that’s where paralysis tends to kick in.

So, I wrote this book really to encourage women to really — this is the time to take. You can no longer just think about it, can no longer just talk about, you can no longer just worry about, you’ve actually got to get out there and do something. So, this is more the action book.

Valerie
And why does paralysis kick in?

Kim
Well, a lot of reasons. One is they’re uneducated. Women don’t have the — many of us women are – not only do we not have the education, but we’ve actually been taught to depend upon somebody else for our financial well-being, so be it a husband, be it a family member, be it the government for that matter. So, we really haven’t had the financial education, so that’s a part of it.

And then I think the other thing is because the subject is so intimidating that a lot of women have decided that they can’t do it. This is not for them. Or the classic, “My eyes glaze over when I start learning about stocks and bonds, and hearing numbers.” Right?

So, there is a lot of stories throughout the book, because I really want women to see other women who are out there doing it. And, these are not MBA students, these are not magical women. These are women, just everyday women like you and me who are out there just one step at a time.

Valerie
Why are you so passionate about financial education, particularly personal finance for women?

Kim
Well, I actually never thought that this would be my subject — never. I studied business, loved business. When I was seven I decided that I was going to have my own business. And, then as the Rich Dad company grew and I would travel around the world with my husband, Robert, I would get up and I would just speak to women for just a few minutes. And, it didn’t matter what city I was in, what country I was in, I would be surrounded by women at these events all with the same questions and the same issues.

And, it became really clear to me that this is a subject that really is not being addressed to women. Some women are out there talking about it, but on a very superficial level, such as how to balance a checkbook, or, “Can I buy a puppy?” “No, denied,” type of thing. You know all very, very superficial, but this is about really women becoming financially secure for life and financially independent, ideally.

And, what it takes — it’s not easy. And, it’s probably — that alone is going to hurt the sales of my book. I know that, because I’m not giving them an easy answer. I’m not giving them a quick fix, because in all of my world of investing and of business to be successful, whether your male, female, dog, it’s not an easy road to go down. So, I really wanted to let women know what it’s going to take. So, when they come against something that is fearful or something that is unknown to them, to let them know, “Hey, it’s OK. That’s part of the process. It’s a process.” So, my passion comes from just seeing so many women who want to take that step and not knowing how to do it.

Valerie
And it must be very frustrating because you know that it’s the right path to take, but as an author it is difficult to explain personal finance, which is not the most super-exciting concept in the world. So, as an author, what do you have to do when you’re writing that book to really engage your reader and move them to action?

Kim
That’s a great, great question. What I’ve found is that women do learn very well from other women. And, so one of the things that I did is included stories from other women. So, for example, there is a story of a woman from the Philippines, she was a maid working overseas in London. And, she would take her money that she made and send it back to her family every month. Well, then she started to get a little smarter and said, “What if I put some aside to have that money grow and then I’ll send the rest of it home.” So, she did and she now today, here’s a maid from the Philippines working overseas in London, small salary, she has like 7 properties in the Philippines. And, these were very small properties, they cost like $4,000 or $5,000, yet she’s doing it and she’s making cash flow. So, it’s just to say that anybody can do this. You’ve just got to take those steps and get into action.

Valerie
Now you talk about the stories, including lots of stories, particularly those of women in your book. And, there are lots of great examples and case studies and illustrations. I’m writing a book at the moment on story-telling and business. How important do you think stories are to include in your book, and what purpose do they serve?

Kim
I think that’s the best way to get your point across. And, I think it’s the best way that we can teach other people. I’m reading Steve Job’s book right now. And, the writer did a fantastic job, the New York Times writer. And, he includes — I just notice I get so engaged in the story, and I lose track that I’ve just read twenty pages because I’m so caught up in the story. And, I think it’s a great way to learn. I think it’s probably one of the — I look at Rich Dad, Poor Dad, it’s a story. It’s a story of two boys growing up. Rich Woman, my first book was a story of myself and my five girlfriends. And, it’s just easy to keep the reader engaged through the story versus, “Well, if you buy a stock with a PE ratio of this, and a real estate with a CAP rate of this,” it’s boring and people are going to shut down.

So, I’m thrilled you’re doing a book on story-telling because I think it’s the best way to get a point across.

Valerie
Now tell us when you first decide that you’re going to write a book, whether it was this one, It’s Rising Time, or your previous one, Rich Woman, what then is your writing process? Like, what are the next steps? Do you map the whole thing out first and then fill in the gaps, or do you just start writing and see where it goes? How does that work for you?

Kim
It does not come naturally to me, I’ll say that first of all. Again, my first book came because so many women were encouraging me to write it. I never considered myself an author; I was a business woman and an investor. So, the process for me. The hardest part with It’s Rising Time was figuring out what that theme is — what do I really want to say and what do women really need to hear and how do I get that across.

So, once I kind of got the theme down of what it really takes for financial security, this is what it really takes, no holds barred, and I’m going to be very candid, I’m going to be very upfront, then I have a very, very, rough, rough, rough outline. But, more it flows from story to story and chapter to chapter. So, I’ll start writing and I’ll kind of go off in one direction and it will take me different routes, and so it’s very organic when I write.

Valerie
Interesting, so if you do it that way do you then at the very end need to really do a big edit or do you find it works?

Kim
I didn’t do a big edit. What happened as a result is once we got all of the chapters done — it actually was interesting how it kind fell into three sections of the book. So, in the book I talk about the first part is aspire. What is that dream? What is that goal that is going to keep you going forward when you face those set back and you face the adversities? So that was the first step. Then the second step was the acquire. How do you acquire the knowledge? Where do you find it? Where does that happen? And then the third step is to apply it. Now that you’ve acquired some knowledge you’ve got to get out there and actually do it.

So, it actually was interesting how the book, I hadn’t planned it that way from the start, but when we sat back and looked at it, my editor and I, was like, “Oh, it actually does fall into these three categories.

Valerie
That makes so much sense because it’s such a good triangle that you do illustrate — the aspire, acquire, apply. And, that’s really introduced at the start of the book, and I thought, “That’s brilliant,” because it’s so easy to understand and remember. So, was that an accident that it became those three things?

Kim
Yes, yes. It actually was not planned from the start.

Valerie
Wow.

Kim
We call it the AAA Triangle. Actually, I did not have that at the beginning of the book. That came up about halfway through the book.

Valerie
Is that right?

Kim
Yeah, I think that works best for me because like even if I’m going to give a talk I do better without an outline because then my mind is free just to kind of go the way it needs to go and you can feed off of the audience. So, I actually do better without an outline and without notes.

The one thing that I did have from the start was the definition of intelligence. And, that kind of was where I started, which was the definition of intelligence was first two parts — first the ability to acquire the knowledge necessary. And then Step 2 was then applying the knowledge that you’ve acquired. So, I did have that, but I didn’t have the triangle. I didn’t have that as the theme of the book at the time.

Valerie
That’s really interesting because a lot of people when they write business books, they feel that they really need to plot the whole thing out, because your approach is far more the creative writing approach, when you’re writing a novel, or a memoir, or something like that.

Kim
Yes.

Valerie
Where you just start flowing, but it worked really well for you in a business type finance book.

Kim
It worked very well for me and, again, going back to the story-telling, at first I thought I needed a story to go throughout the entire book, and that just wasn’t happening. And, so I found that instead of having one story going through, let’s bring in all sorts of stories from all of these people, mostly women, but some men as well, lessons that have been learned through the stories. And, I think that the lessons come across a lot clearer because this is real life of what actually happened, this is not just theory, this is really people who are practicing what they preach, people who are walking the talk.

And, I think if you’re going to ever learn — I was just talking with Robert about this the other day, I think one of the best ways to learn is to find somebody who is doing what you want to do and go learn from them. You know? I don’t learn well from theory. I don’t learn well from college professors. I want to talk to somebody who is actually doing it and really find out what it takes.

Valerie
Perfect. So, tell me as an author what’s the most challenging thing about writing a book, and in particular what was the most challenging thing writing this book?

Kim
I think the most challenging is first of all finding what that theme is, what is it that I really wanted to say that I thought women would benefit from the most and would be of the most value to them, because there’s a lot of different pieces to this book. It’s almost more of a book that you could put on your bookshelf and keep using it as a reference. So, that was number one.

The other thing that happened, this is kind of funny, the other thing that happened is I’d been working on this book — I started it in March and we were now into July. I started writing it like constantly, and we’re now into July and I met with our editor. And, she said — it was a Thursday afternoon and she said, “How far along with the book are you?” And I said, “Oh, about two thirds of the way.” And she said, “Well, in order to make our deadline I nee the rest of the book by Monday.” “Monday?”

So, we actually figured out a way to stretch it up, but for the next 11 days I just wrote non-stop, non-stop, day and night to get the book finished. And, I think as a result it became a better book because I was so engrained in it every minute. It wasn’t like I thought about it and then I put it aside, then I thought about it. I was working every single day and night. And, I think as a result that’s why it came together so clearly with the three different sections of the book. Had I stretched it out I think it would have been a different book.

Valerie
Inclusive of those 11 days, how long did the whole thing take?

Kim
About six months. I want to say it probably took twelve months, because I think those first six months were figuring out what the book was going to be, because I had in the back of my head, I had a sequel to Rich Woman as an idea. Earlier I was working on a Rich Couple book. So, I really needed to fine-tune what is it that needs to get out there. Especially given these economic times, I needed something that really was relevant today, because there’s an urgency right now in what’s happening all over the world, economically to people, which is just a horrible thing if people are not educated and don’t know what to do, and they’re going back to the same old, same old. They’re going to find themselves in a tough situation, and a lot of people are, so the timing of the book was important to me as well.

Valerie
What’s the most rewarding thing about writing this kind of book?

Kim
Well, a couple of things happened. Number one is I also get clear on what I need to do in terms of my own life, right? Because I’m also learning from all of these people and learning from their stories as well. So, personally, from a selfish standpoint I got smarter in the process.

And the most rewarding thing is when I hear, is when a women says to me that something in the book has changed her life. So, the other day one of the women actually who submitted a story said there was a piece in the book that she had been struggling with for like 15 years and all of a sudden I said it in a way that the lights went on. And, it’s not that it was anything that was profound, it was just she heard it from a different point of view. And, so when I hear those stories — that’s the most rewarding thing of all. That somebody got value and benefited from what you wrote.

Valerie
I think it’s particularly rewarding with a topic like personal finance, because it is so hard to engage people.

Kim
Yes.

Valerie
It is so hard to make their eyes stop glazing over. And, you’ve done it really, really well.

Kim
Well, thank you.

Valerie
When you first knew you wanted to be an author, with Rich Woman, what steps did you then take to acquire the skills to be a good author?

Kim
Wow, so again, I never ever planned to be a writer. I didn’t know if I could write. So, my writing is really similar to how I speak. People say — when they first read Rich Woman they said, “Well, it was obvious this was your book because nobody could write the way that you talk.” I just kind of pretend that I’m up there talking to somebody about what’s going on and what’s happening and I think that keeps — I do my best to be as candid, and as forthright, and genuine as possible. I don’t hide anything.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes and Robert and I have both gone through some very tough times, and that’s part of the process. And, I think that it’s important that people understand that.

Valerie
These days marketing your book is equally important — in some cases some people think it’s even more important than writing your book, if you want your book to sell. At what part of the writing process are you determining your marketing strategy, working out your marketing plan, and does it impact the actual writing and content of the book?

Kim
That’s a great question. That’s a really good point because so many people and authors who write a book, they think that their publisher is going to market their book. And, they think the publisher is going to do this ongoing media campaign and all of the PR and all of the publicity and that’s just not true. I mean even the most successful books out there today, the publisher may give them two weeks of publicity, but it really is — if anybody listening is thinking of writing a book understand that it is up to you to market it and sell it. That’s the bottom line. If you really want to move those books you’re going to have to get out there and market and sell it.

So, throughout the process I’m working with our marketing team on how we’re going to market the book. One thing that we’re actually going to do with this book, It’s Rising Time, we’re working on it right now, is we are creating a book study app that people who are reading the book can get this app for free and it’s a book study and it will be like an expanded content, a way to communicate with one another, so that’s very exciting. So, we’re looking at new ways of doing it, and new ways of reaching people.

Valerie
Wow.

Kim
Yeah, I’m very excited about that. In terms of writing the book itself — the marketing of it doesn’t affect my writing, except that if I want to reach a certain group of people I’ll make sure to mention that type of group. For example, network marketing business is a very — they’ve embraced the whole Rich Dad/Rich Woman message very, very well. So, I wanted to make sure that I used some examples that refer to the network marketing industry, so that they understand that it includes them as well. So, from that point of view I might use examples that are more inclusive of different businesses and organizations and individuals.

Valerie
In the world of publishing, even if you put aside the world of financial education, in the world of publishing the Kiyosaki name has turned into a brand, almost like James Patterson, or Malcolm Gladwell, or that sort of thing. So, if it’s on a book people are very, very likely to pay attention and buy the book. So, what’s your advice to other authors or business people who want that kind of cache, as an author, so that the mere name on the cover is going to make people interested, because they know, like, and trust that name?

Kim
Right, right. Well, it does help to have the last name Kiyosaki. I’m not going to pretend it doesn’t. Once Rich Dad, Poor Dad hit, it hit so large the name really helps. But, I think one thing that helps too is we’re not just an author. So, if you’re going to write a book what else are you offering people? We call it the backend. And, what else can grow you as a brand, and grow you as a business. So, we’re always cognizant of that, that we had our seminars, and that we’ve had other products like our board game, Cash Flow, we had other resources available, so that it wasn’t just a book. So, I would just say that if people are thinking of writing a book what’s bigger than the book that you can offer? What’s the business that you’re building around the book? Because every book is a business, so what else can you offer?

Valerie
So, you think authors need to treat their book — would it be safe to say you think that authors need to treat their book as a product and need to run their writing life as a business?

Kim
I do. I personally do. Unless you’re just doing it for the love of it and you just want to get a book and publish it. But, if you really want to get a book out there and make a difference and impact people’s lives, you’ve got to really treat that book as the product and run that book as a business. Then of course you’ll have other books that will come off of it, other products that will come off of it. But, I guess the main question that I would ask authors is what is your purpose for writing your book? What is it you want to accomplish with that? So, for me, I saw women they were looking for somebody that was out there doing what I do, and they wanted this information. So, that was my purpose.

Valerie
And finally for business people out there who are watching this who want to write their book for their business, what’s your advice to them on the first steps they need to take. So, they haven’t written anything before, but they know that they want to showcase their expertise in a book, what’s your advice to them?

Kim
Well, actually this comes out of Steve Job’s book too, which again I just love. He always talks about keeping everything so simple. And, with Rich Dad, Poor Dad Robert kept it very simple. With Rich Woman and with this book I do my best to keep it very simple. Don’t get complicated because it’s the people that can take a complex and make it simple — you know you look at some of the best books out there, you know like Gladwell’s books, he makes it very simple. How do you take a complex subject, whatever your expertise is in, and keep it so simple that anybody can understand it? So, I learned every on, even in writing business manuals for our business, to write them as if you’re writing it for a nine year old. And, if a nine year old can understand it, then anybody should be able to understand it. So, I would just say keep it real simple.

Valerie
Wonderful, and on that note thank you very much for joining us today, Kim. Your book, It’s Rising Time, is out now. It’s fantastic. I’ve read it. I’m fully inspired. So, thank you very much.

Kim
Thanks, Valerie.



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