Browsing Articles Written by

Melinda Emerson

Work Your Biz Wednesday: How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing That Book

By March 1, 2017 No Comments

If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, you dream of writing a book on your area of expertise. The thing is, while many have this dream, far fewer actually realize it, and that’s a shame.

What’s stopping them? Usually self doubt and time. They aren’t secure in their ability to write a great book (or set their sights so high they’ll never reach their goal of creating a bestseller) or they simply don’t have (or make) the time to dedicate to the project.

Having published my own book (and with more books in my future), I have a thing or two to say on the subject.

Examine Your Reasons for Writing a Book

Before you can actually start writing a book, you need to understand your motivation for doing so. Are you looking to become a rich and famous author? If that’s your m.o., you might need to let that dream die. Few authors become rich or famous, so you might be setting yourself up for failure from the start.

On the other hand, wanting to establish yourself as an expert in your industry is a great goal. People are impressed with authors, and being able to hold up your book after you speak at an event or in a sales meeting could just be your ticket to more business.

Going to the great effort of writing a book shows potential clients that you’re serious and professional. People like surrounding themselves with success, and publishing a book indicates that you are successful.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to write a book, know them before you embark on this journey.

Acknowledge Time Constraints

So you’ve established your goals and you’re ready to write. Only you have an incredibly busy month ahead of you. When can you fit it in?

The honest truth is: you might not be able to. Rather than forcing the writing (creativity doesn’t work that way), find time in your schedule when you can dedicate 15 minutes, an hour, half a day, whatever you’ve got, to sitting down at your computer to write. If now isn’t a good time to get started, wait until you have more time and mental headspace to begin.

Set Deadlines

Most people work well under the pressure of deadlines, and they’re great for book authors. Start with the big one: when do you hope to have the entire book finished? This could be anywhere from six months to a year. Be realistic, given your schedule, but also slightly aggressive so you don’t have time to slack off.

Then break that time down into smaller deadlines. Chapters usually make good deadlines. It may take you writing the first chapter to see how long it takes you to then set deadlines for completing subsequent chapters.

And if you miss a deadline? Don’t be hard on yourself; just get back on track.

I’ve Written My Book…Now What?

You thought writing it was the hardest task, but now you’re about to embark on another adventure! If you plan to publish your book (and I assume you do), you have two options: self-publishing or the traditional publisher route.

With self-publishing, you handle everything on your own. You hire an editor and a cover designer, and then upload the book to Amazon and Nook. If you want a hard copy book, you work with a book printer like Lulu. You also market the book yourself. You will spend quite a bit to get this book available for purchase. So why would you want an option that involves so much work? You are going to do most of the work regardless of which route you take, and by self publishing, at least you get to keep more profit.

If you want to pursue the traditional publishing route, it is much more competitive and difficult to break into, and there’s a significant time delay for when you book is actually released.

In traditional publishing, typically you work through an agent who will require you to put together a book proposal, (think business plan for your book.) Then they shop your book around to publishers, trying to stimulate interest. If one is interested, they will negotiate a book contract and a modest advance. First time authors don’t typically get too much $10K-$20K, and you will not get the second half of your money until all the edits the publisher requires are made on your manuscript.  You may be asked you to heavily edit the book or even significantly rewrite part of it.

But traditional publishers will get your book into major bookstores. Depending on the size of the publisher, they may also use their internal PR team to set up interviews for you, but this will only be for a short time. They won’t do all the marketing for you, most of that will still fall to you.

The drawbacks to traditional publishing are that you give up a hefty percent of your book royalties, and it’s a harder game to win. Still, if having a well-known publisher on the spine of your book will give you some credibility that self-publishing might not.

Writing and publishing a business book can be so rewarding, and yes, it’s worth the time investment, stress, especially if you are establishing a brand. If you’re serious about writing a book this year, start researching options now.

 

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Work Your Biz Wednesday: How to Determine Which Tasks to Outsource in Your Small Business

By February 15, 2017 No Comments

As a business owner the #1 things you must do in your business are your high-valued activities like sales and serving customers. Outsourcing is a great way to keep you focused on running the business, and with the rise of the freelance or gig economy there are more options than ever to get things done. So think carefully about what tasks you don't have time for, or don't feel qualified to do in your small business and get them handled by someone else.

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Work Your Biz Wednesday: The Power of Positive Thinking of Your Business Expectations

By January 25, 2017 No Comments

We all know about the phenomenon of higher expectations leading to better performance, and it's named after the Greek myth of Pygmalion. Pygmalion was a Greek sculptor who fell in love with a statue he created, which was given Aphrodite's blessing and turned into an actual woman. In our modern time, we understand that low expectations lead to poor performance. This is known as the "golem effect." So, when it comes to your business, your business expectations tend to become your business reality.

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Work Your Biz Wednesday: What Is the Right Management Style for You?

By January 11, 2017 No Comments

If you own a business, you're automatically both a leader and a manager. Both of those roles are tough, and you need to make a decision about what kind of business leader you want to be. Your perfect management style will depend on what kind of business you run, your industry, your personality, and the people you hire to help you reach your goals.

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2017 Cyber Security prioritization

Work Your Biz Wednesday: Are You Prioritizing Cyber Security for 2017?

By December 28, 2016 No Comments

Many small business owners may think they are protected against computer viruses and hacks, but that may not be the case. In fact, too many small business owners don't do much to protect themselves. There are so many must-dos that accompany running a business that it's easy for tasks like protecting your IT infrastructure to be placed on the back burner. But the typical IT security problem can cost a small business thousands of dollars to correct, and a couple of days of lost work time per year.

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A/B Test Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Work Your Biz Wednesday: How to Use A/B Testing with Email Marketing

By December 14, 2016 No Comments

If you’re struggling to get your emails read by potential customers, you might need to try a different tactic to ensure that you’re properly targeting your audience. You also need to make sure you are giving them content they need to not only read your emails but to also click the links in them to take action. You also want to examine the language you are using to build rapport and make a connection.

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What to do Before an Audit?

Work Your Biz Wednesday: What To Do AFTER an Audit

By December 7, 2016 No Comments

When most small business owners think of being audited, they naturally imagine an audit by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Indeed, these can happen to any small business, but there are other types of audits too. For example, software companies have increased software license audits in recent years, making it imperative that businesses keep up with the status of their software licenses.

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