Speaker | Author | Coach
James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker and author, widely referred to as America’s leading relationship writer. With over 37 million pageviews accumulated on his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000. James speaks at live events across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with media outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, and more.
ince 2013, James has set out on a mission to help people develop healthier relationships with themselves, leading to happier relationships with others. His book, Unlocking Love, reached the top 100 in Amazon’s Love & Romance category on its first day of release, and has received a plethora of 5-star reviews from those whose lives have been positively affected.
James has dedicated his life to bringing romance and dignity back to relationships and encouraging men to be gentlemen again. His approach is a unique combination of traditional values updated to suite the modern would.
James can be reached on any social media channel at @JamesMSama.
My mission is to help people develop a deeper understanding of themselves and others from a fundamental human level, and then use this knowledge to create more fulfilling lives and relationships. After accumulating nearly 40 million readers and having thousands of conversations over the years with people of all walks of life, I strongly believe we need to focus more on creating who we want to be (and be with) and then build a life around those goals.
In 2013 I began writing my blog as a way to reach more people than my personal Facebook page. I didn’t know anything about blogging and really was only active on Facebook as a social network.
As I started writing about personal development, dating, and relationships, my articles would get shared frequently and generate a few thousand views per day. Approximately 5 months after I started writing, one of the articles (10 Ways to Know You’re Dating a True Gentleman) starting picking up steam and was viewed over 1.5 million times in a single day.
After that, I knew I had to figure out why this happened and create more momentum behind it. I started receiving phone calls from interviews and being quoted in the media. Since then, I have spent most of my time researching human relationships and psychology, and have written over 800 articles revolving around the topic.
This has lead to a variety of media and live event appearances across the country, which, coupled with private coaching, have become my full time venture.
As what could be referred to as a “blogger” at the time, I can speak directly to the shift in content consumption over the past 5 years. People no longer want to read long form content that requires them to leave whatever social network they are scrolling through. They want quick and witty anecdotes, and they want them without having to click off the page.
Furthermore, since sites like Facebook have pulled back drastically on organic reach, creating “viral” content is much more difficult since only a small percentage of your audience is actually seeing your posts.
In terms of the personal development side of things, I have seen increased confusion over the years when it comes to individual identity. People are focusing more on what will look good on social media rather than what will actually make them happy and fulfilled in their lives. They are chasing all of the wrong things and I believe that’s why my work resonates so deeply with people – it meets them at their core and challenges them to reflect inward. At least, when they are willing.
There is so much free content in the world that creating a business around knowledge and information is becoming increasingly challenging. The easiest example to point to is publications many of us would look to for advice. I won’t name any names, but let’s just say that certain brands that readers would look to for guidance have resorted to click-baity low brow headlines simply to get clicks and generate ad revenue.
Some put up pay walls. Some have closed altogether.
We need to consistently be shifting and evolving with the times. Video took over, but the length of the content depends on the social network. We get 60 seconds on Instagram, but YouTube favors longer form content. So the challenge really arises in creating a well rounded but brand consistent strategy that gets your message out into the world with just enough value that makes people want to come to you directly for more – and pay for it.
However, this landscape is also rife with opportunity because you can blaze a trail and lead the way if you’ve got impactful ideas that make people snap out of their mindless scrolling and take notice. We have to be careful of not falling too deeply into creating “shock value” to the point that our message is lost, but challenges and opportunities are equally strong.
I have always idolized people like Tony Robbins who have created an audience of millions of people who go to him for guidance. My passions are speaking to large groups and also sitting down 1-1 with someone and really exploring the inner workings of why they are who they are, and helping them reach those “eureka” moments where they begin seeing things in a different light.
That, paired with people who would constantly send me messages looking for advice, lead me to becoming a professional coach and speaker in the space. It allows me to create positive change in the world, help people on an individual level, and also keep the bills paid.
This year (2019) has been packed full of media appearances and speaking engagements. So far (this is April), I have been in Los Angeles twice, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, New York City, and coming up on an event in Boston.
The plan for this coming year and beyond is to drastically turn up the heat on the scale of events and media. I am still accepting private clients but I am looking to large events and conferences so I can impact hundreds, or thousands, of people at once. My goal is to become a leading personality for media and events to call upon to bring value to their audiences.
I can say unequivocally that the most effective thing I have done over the years is build relationships and provide consistent authentic content. My best clients (for coaching, speaking, and media) have been people who were following my journey for years and had a situation arise where there was value in reaching out to me. Direct outreach and staying in touch with those in your circle is time consuming, but it is far easier to close a deal with a warm acquaintance than it is from a cold lead from an ad or email.
My most difficult challenge in business came when I decided to sell everything I owned in the Boston area and move to Los Angeles with a single suitcase. It sounds cliche, but that’s what I did. I spent nearly every night talking my way into events that were far above my “pay grade,” I rubbed shoulders and shook hands. I set up meetings and created as much content as possible for social media.
I literally put myself in a sink or swim situation. As Tony Robbins would say: If you want to take the island, you’ve got to burn the boats.
The biggest and most valuable thing I have learned over the years is that the #1 most important thing you can do for your own success is to be around the people and opportunities where
lightning can strike. I went to Los Angeles because I had plateaued in Boston (very little media/event opportunities) and needed to spread my wings.
The events I went to, shows I was on, events that I spoke at…opened up unlimited doors and possibilities on both a professional and personal level that never would’ve come my way otherwise.
That really is the key – make sure you have a seat at the (right) table.
According to my previous clients the real value from my approach comes from the individual attention that everyone gets. I run everything myself and I don’t believe in having a “cookie-cutter” approach to coaching or speaking. What works for one person, brand, or organization, may not work for another. So to me, the ideal experience for a client is someone to walk away knowing that they just received the pinnacle of service and value that nobody else in the world could ever receive, because it was custom tailored for them.
Every session with a client is like its own mini-motivational-speech. I believe in letting the client speak as much as possible during the sessions and it’s very important that they identify and work through issues, but when we establish the topic of conversation I like to give them as much value as I can in the time we have so they can take it out into the world. I have stuffed so much research into my brain that it flows out like Niagara Falls when I get on a roll.
Additionally, I live fully in the state that I encourage others to do. I have refused to stray from my path, I have taken every risk, gone to every event, shook every hand, said hello to every person…I never advise someone to do something that I haven’t done/wouldn’t do myself, and I can say that I fully lead by example in these areas. I believe that’s what makes my work so effective, because not only do people hear me say it…but they see me do it. And my goal with that is to show everyone that it is possible to create the life you choose, no matter where you start.
Do not stray from your message and do not have the end goal of making money. Yes, you need to make a living and pay the bills, but in an overly commercialized era where people are bombarded with advertisements nearly every second of the day, they will immediately shut you out when you come at them with a pitch.
Instead, focus on providing FREE value as much as possible. Have paid options like an e-book, an online course, or personal coaching. And of course, your speaking engagements. But understand that people will not buy those things from you because you’re selling them, people will buy those things because they receive so much value from your free content that they know you will blow their minds with things they have to actually pay for.
Your authenticity and consistency is what will shine through in today’s business landscape. I believe we are witnessing a shift where people are tired of being commoditized and want to be treated like humans again. The people who do that, will win.
I am not one to tout my own skills but I have repeatedly been called a “one-take wonder” on camera because I can flawlessly execute a presentation on the first take. This goes for on or off teleprompter. Of course, nobody is perfect…but speaking on stage or on camera is where I am most comfortable and happiest.
I am the best version of myself when I am surrounded by ambitious and creative energy. I thrive in bright and warm environments where people are pursuing their own passions and have exciting ideas. I come alive in cities like Los Angeles and New York where anything can happen at anytime. It’s like magic.
My personal aspirations are to create enough security for myself that I can start a family and not have to worry about how bills will be paid. I would love to find a woman who is a teammate and is as passionate about her work and life as I am. Then, we see where things go from there.
From a career standpoint, I want my movement and brand to grow to an even larger global scale where I am frequently speaking to large audiences around the world, writing more books, filming more TV shows, and becoming a positive force for the good of humanity.
This is a tough one because while I have managed to stay consistent over the years I continue to raise the bar for what “success” means to me. If I had to choose a stand-out event or accomplishment, I really think I would say choosing to move to Los Angeles when I did, because that lead to so many other opportunities I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Conversely to the previous question, my most challenging moment was choosing to move back to the east coast to be closer to family again. I feel alive and at home in Los Angeles, but I made the call that family is my priority at this stage in my life, and chose to come back. For now, at least.
As long as you believe in your own ability to learn and grow, there are no limits to your personal potential.
I’d, of course, have to say my parents and my brother. Everyone in my family is an entrepreneur (go figure) and I grew up being influenced by their every decision. My younger brother is an incredible human with incredible abilities and I look up to him daily. My parents have provided, loved, and cared for us in ways that I’m sure I will never be able to understand and I am eternally grateful for that.
I have 4 business role models who come to mind. A good friend Allen Goldman, CEO of Skindinavia. Michael Fishman, who is a worldclass adviser and consultant in the health and wellness space, Jon Schumacher whose advice took my business to another level, and Dave Humphrey, who has committed years of professional and personal advice to me along the way.
I am in love with California because you can find whatever you want there. Mountains, beaches, cities, neighborhoods, opportunities, diversity…I have traveled through most of the country and love Southern California as well as Scottsdale Arizona. New York City is in my heart as well, but I don’t mind spending shorter amounts of time there. I’ve yet to explore much overseas.
I have been a lifelong automotive enthusiast so whatever fun car I happen to drive at the time is usually my favorite item that I own. Other than that I enjoy fashion and art, so suits and tuxedos, and contemporary or impactful art are always at the top of my list.
My passion is really revolving around growing and expanding my offerings and services, to be honest. I have recently performed more acting and voiceover work in addition to speaking and presenting, so I am relentlessly focused on making a living in the media space. None of this feels like work to me and really is a true passion. If I can pursue these goals in ways that make a positive impact in people’s lives, I will consider it a success.
To open one more door to a potential opportunity or relationship.
The entire course of your life can shift in a single moment, always be ready for it.
Content creation, going to the gym, and building relationships.
Performing an act of kindness for a stranger.
Do not quit, because today could be the day that everything turns around for you. And if you give up now, you’ll never know.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
I actually live in a smaller town so I enjoy the tight-knit community feel, but I do miss being in a larger dynamic city and will more than likely live in one for awhile again.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
My kitchen, ha! Lean ground turkey and eggs with avocado and onion, please.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Waking up and trying to resist the urge to immediately grab my phone. Starting to think up content for the day.
10:00 AM – Either heading to the gym or coming back from the gym, depending on the day. Creating more content.
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal? I love a good burrito but since I am usually cooking, lean ground beef with broccoli and mushrooms. And creating more content.
7:00 PM – Catching up on the day’s news and…creating more content.
11:00 PM – Hopefully in bed if I’m smart, especially if there is an event or appearance the next day.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
Caffeine, caffeine, caffeine. I usually get strange looks when I add espresso shots to cold brew coffee, but one in the morning is usually good for the day. I don’t really drink alcohol during the week but a vodka on the rocks during the weekend does the trick.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
I have definitely focused mostly on Instagram lately given where the social media trends are going, and my favorite account is @JamesMSama of course!
Just kidding, I love @TomBilyeu, who provides a huge variety of valuable content on a consistent basis across multiple mediums.
What should everyone try at least once?
Moving to a different city that they’ve never lived in before, 100%.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
Los Angeles. And, I’d imagine, Europe. I’ll let you know when I visit.