It’s important to reflect on your progress so that you can plan for the following year. This post looks at my author-journey since I left the corporate day job.
Here are the commitments I made in Dec 2015 for my author journey if you want to take a look.
Going forwards, I am going to start posting more updates which will talk specifically about my journey as an author-entrepreneur.
This behind the scenes view will show you how I attempt to build my author business from the ground up and make money from books and my writing.
As a quick reminder, on 1st April 2016, I left 11 years in corporate banking to pursue my lifetime dream of becoming an author.
Specifically, how to become an entrepreneur as an author.
I loved business and ran my management consultancy in banking for three years. However, I got to the point where the strict corporate routines and lack of creativity no longer resonated with me.
Instead, I wanted to spend my time doing what I was passionate about; writing and making a blooming good income from it!
As far back as I can recall, I have loved writing and dreamed of being an author. However, until now, I didn’t think it was a possible career or life choice.
But self-publishing has now exploded, and there has never been a better time to be an author!
They are all making six-figure incomes through their writing. And there are others, such as Barbara Freethy, who are making seven-figure incomes.
Not to mention J.K Rowling who is a billionaire (I know she is not self-published, but she is a business savvy author. We can also be like that too- there really are no limits!).
And this is what I intend to as well; to make a brilliant living doing what I love, which is to write.
Being an author-entrepreneur means you have to treat the writing as a business venture. As well as learning the craft of writing, I need to understand how to market and sell my books.
This is all new to me, hence why I set up this blog to document my learnings and share my journey on becoming a full-time author-entrepreneur.
I left a six-figure income in banking to earning precisely £0 at this point in time.
Am I crazy?
Maybe. Maybe not.
All I know is that I could no longer spend another day doing something I didn’t enjoy.
Yes, my income has dropped by 100% (living off savings in case you’re wondering!), but my happiness and well-being have increased by 10000%
I’m happier now than I have ever been in my life. My health and lifestyle are also exactly where I want them to be.
As a consequence, this now frees me up to focusing on building my author business. So in this post, I wanted to think about achievements this year and what could have gone better. This will help me to plan for 2017.
Year End Summary – What Went Well This Year?
I finally quit the corporate world on 1st April 2016 to follow my dream of becoming an Author-Entrepreneur 🙂
A contributing author to the FinTech Book which was traditionally published.
- Although I didn’t make any money from this, it was a great learning experience.
- The book launch was at The Shard in London.
- Met other authors and presented my chapter on banking in the emerging markets.
On Self-publishing: I wrote the first draft of my upcoming non-fiction book (Escape The Cubicle: Stop Doing Work You Hate & Start Creating The life You Love.) It’s about how you can find your passions and live with purpose.
- I wrote most of the first draft during 30 minutes timed writing sessions during my day job between Dec 2014-March 2016, hence why it took over a year to write.
- Also, procrastination and writer’s block became annoyingly good friends with me during this stage…I’m still trying to un-friend them 🙂
Going Pro as an Author-Entrepreneur
- I appointed a professional editor in August 2016 to edit my book.
- I completed the first round of edits (so painful, but learnt so much!) and am currently still in the editing process.
Build my Author Platform: I committed to writing twice a week on this blog and have now posted over 100 blog posts consistently every week.
- This has helped me to slowly overcome my writers’ block (which is just fear).
- It has also given me more confidence as a writer as I publicly share my work here. The more I write about writing and becoming an author-entrepreneur, the more I continue to learn.
- Also, this is my author platform. And the more content I create, the better it will serve my business and brand in the years to come.
Upskilling as a Writer
Attended the London Book Fair in April 2016:
- Met Joanna Pen, Mark Dawson, Orna Ross and other influencers in the indie-author space who inspired me to keep working on this journey.
- Attended workshops and talks relevant to me.
- Learnt about Amazon Author Central and Kobo and what they can do for authors.
- Attended a Masterclass at AmazonAcademyy to learn how I can use Amazon as part of my business.
- I attended a year long course with Greg Mosse at the Southbank for monthly masterclass sessions on ‘How To Write A Novel In A Year’.
Attended a masterclass with my author-heroes Joanna Penn and Orna Ross in November 2016 in London. This was a turning point for me as my eyes opened up to the array of incredible opportunities available for self-published authors today.
We are not just authors but media empire owners.
- There is no limit to how big you can grow your author business.
- In this online world where content is king, your success is limited only by your commitment and dedication to the work.
Started a morning ritual:
- Including a writing practice which helped me to write every day.
Develop Daily Writing Habit:
- I track my daily word count to see my progress and keep myself accountable.
- I have written almost every day since 1st April, totalling 140,000 in eight months.
- Started to ‘time-block’ to get my most important work done i.e writing without distractions.
- This has helped to become more focused and spend my time on what matters the most.
- Have started to reach out to other people in my Tribe, i.e., authors on the same self-publishing journey as me.
- As a result, I have started to create a community and have some new lovely author friends.
Upskilling as an Author-Entrepreneur
This journey is totally new to me as the self-publishing space is constantly evolving.
As such, if you want to be an author-entrepreneur, then you need to treat this as business and be open to new opportunities and be willing to scale the learning curve (even if you fall off from time to time).
I am loving this journey to date, but it is tough. Here are a few things this year where I have had to learn, stretch and grow:
I finally faced my aversion of social media and started to use Twitter to engage with authors.
- I learnt how to use it, how to DM someone (that means to send a direct message to one of your Twitter friends!) and how to send a tweet (yeh I know, iIwas seriously that bad. But hey, I’m learning!)
I have started to embrace Facebook as a marketing platform:
- I’m not a fan of FB but know that this is one of the most important platforms an author can use to grow her audience.
- So I went back to my FB profile, 9 years after creating it and had sorted out my personal page (put up branded banners, etc). Having said that I probably need to create a business page.
I continue to learn about how to set up and run a blog:
- I don’t like the tech side of maintaining a blog but it’s something I know I will benefit from learning.
- It is also empowering to know how to sort out issues that arise so you can fix them yourself.
- I can now add some widgets and plugins. I also learnt how to insert pictures into blog posts… (and that’s a BIG thing when you don’t know how to do it!).
I finally added Amazon affiliate links to some products on the blog:
- This is a great way to start creating an online income.
- It’s not a get-rick-quick- scheme. Rather you get a small commission on products you list on your site if someone buys it through your unique link.
- I only post products I have used myself which I like. I don’t see this as a huge income stream, right now but it will grow with time. So, for the time being, I will sit tight and keep writing.
- Being an entrepreneur is about creating multiple sources of income, so I count this as one type.
- Commit to being a healthy author: went to the gym daily
- Back and neck pain is reducing as I am stretching more often
- Am reading more books, yay!
Year End Summary – What Didn’t Go Well This Year
#1. I became overwhelmed way too many times throughout this year, especially when I left the corporate world.
I think most of it was due to the new-found freedom I had and the excitement of wanting to do everything all at one go.
Lesson Learnt: I had to learn to step back and do one thing at a time
#2. I tried to multi-task too often
Which meant too many tasks got started but didn’t get finished. Or they got done, but not with quality.
Lesson Learnt: Do one thing at a time and do it well. It’s faster than doing 5 things simultaneously but done poorly.
#3. Lack of focus: again this comes from being overwhelmed.
Lesson Learnt: Write down all the tasks to be done, then focus on the very next task to be done.
#4. I didn’t make any income online this year.
To be fair, that was expected as I didn’t plan for it. Nor did I know how to make money without a book published.
Lesson Learnt: I have made the first step to making an online income by becoming an Amazon Affiliate and including links to relevant products on my sites (such as books I recommend). Thanks to Joanna Penn for sharing this idea in her workshop.
#5. I didn’t really know what I was doing!
I did attempt to set some goals in Dec 2015 but they were vague. You can read them here.
But that’s OK. This is a journey and I am learning something new every day. And does anyone really know what they are doing?!? 🙂
Lesson Learnt: Set clear and intentional clear goals that will directly impact and progress my author journey.
#1. I started to eat a little too much sugar, especially when I am committed to eating a sugar-free diet.
Lesson Learnt: Go back to my sugar-free diet because I always feel healthier and happier when I nourish my body well. Stress makes me head to the sugar, so learn to identify and manage stress triggers.
#2. Not factoring in enough break times which led to exhaustion and poor sleep.
Lesson Learnt: Stick to my night time routine (no work/ laptop/ mobile after 9 pm).
Reflecting on progress is a great way to see where you are. It’s only when you know where you are, can you plan for where you want to be.
In the next post, I will share my ambitious plans for being an author-entrepreneur in 2017.
What went well for you this year? What could you have done better? Please share in the comments below.