I am often surprised at how little people are willing to invest in themselves to get to where they want to be.
Some people don’t think twice about investing in a designer handbag (trust me, I have loads of prior experience in that department).
Or spending money on stuff they don’t need or doing things that drain their resources and health (like doing jobs they hate).
When it comes to investing in ourselves, there are many people who feel it’s just not worth it.
But this is the number one rule I have learnt in the world of entrepreneurship and writing.
You are your biggest asset. And you need to invest in that asset first. Because if you don’t invest in yourself, neither will anyone else.
There are plenty of tools and apps to help you get closer to achieving those goals and dreams you have. But if you are not investing in your learning then it’s unlikely you will go far.
This quote from Jim Rohn sums it up perfectly:
‘’Invest in your job, you make a living.
Invest in yourself. Make a fortune”
At the beginning of my author career, I was reluctant to make a serious investment. This was partly because I had some fears and doubts around whether I could really make a living writing doing what I loved.
Was I able to move away from being an employee to being an entrepreneur? Could I generate value people would be willing to pay me for?
This is something I know a lot of people have fears about. And most successful entrepreneurs still have these fears no matter how big their companies get or how successful they appear to be.
But when you start to invest in yourself, everything starts to change.
You start to see your dream materialising in front of your eyes. You start to surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to be doing. And a tiny voice in your head says ‘Hey Sukhi, I think you can actually do this.”
But this all takes effort and investment. It can be an investment of your:
The Problem With Free Stuff
The internet is awash with all the information you could ever possibly need.
Want to have a six-pack stomach? Google it, and you will come up with thousands of articles on how to exactly achieve that washboard stomach.
Want to start writing that novel? Then a quick google search will show you that too.
I had done the above, but it only got me so far. The problem with free stuff is that we don’t tend to value it much. If it’s free you tend to think you can always come back to it later. There is no urgency.
But the moment something starts to cost you, that’s when the stakes are higher.
When you invest your time and energy, now you feel as though you want to get maximum benefits for the investment you are putting in.
That is why I continually invest in my craft by attending workshops and conferences that will help me with my writing and with running a business.
The Life-Changing Workshop with Joanna Penn
In this post, I want to share my experiences of one life-changing workshop I went to 6 months ago.
It drastically changed how I approached my writing business. But the biggest change I experienced was a shift in my mindset. And that tiny shift has propelled my business in ways I could not have imagined.
This workshop was run by Joanna Penn who is a thriller author. She has sold thousands of books and is one of my online heroes. She makes her income dong what she loves and proves that writing and pursuing the creative path is a reality in today’s world.
This workshop was not about the craft of writing but of the business of writing.
How can you make a living from your writing? How can you create a long-term sustainable business around your words?
There are still a few tickets left when I checked here if you are interested in going (it’s London based).
All I can say it’s a great investment in yourself if you are serious about forging a path as an author-entrepreneur
Here are the main key points I took away which I have put into practice and the results. I highly recommend this investment in yourself:
(1). How to make a living from my writing
- Podcasting to help you build an author platform and perhaps get sponsorship income or get support for your work on Patreon. I don’t have plans for podcasting just yet but is something I would like to consider!
- Blogging and guest posting on other sites to help market your brand and books. I continue to post consistent blog content which has made me connections, author friends and led to speaking opportunities.
- Create more products i.e. books!
(2). Understanding how to tap into my creativity
- Through free writing exercises.
- Pushing past the fear by having the courage to write crappy first drafts.
(3). The different business models you can use in today’s global digital marketplace:
- You can either produce many books and focus on high production
- Or you can use books as a sales funnel to other offerings such as coaching or speaking
- or you can produce many books that are shorter in length, i.e., 25k words. This is something I would like to explore.
Some other questions that arose during this workshop included:
- Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? Be honest in your answers because the professional self-published route to market is not for everyone.
- Are you willing to market and publish your books or do you just want to write?
- Do you want to create multiple forms of income?
- Do you see your book as a product that can be turned into different income streams?
- Are you willing to try and fail, to experiment? To keep up with the latest trends?
For me, the answer was a resounding yes!
I love to have control over what I’m doing. I am curious to learn. And most importantly I want to express my creativity and run my own business. I made a conscious decision to move away from being an employee to being and entrepreneur.
(4). Books are scalable products. Do you want to take advantage of this model?
- Your book can be turned into an ebook, print book, workbooks and audio book.
- Theses formats can then be translated into different languages and sold in every country where there is a digital presence!
- This insight alone helped me to decide that I will also produce an accompanying workbook for my upcoming non-fiction book.
Since taking a more business approach to my writing career, I have made some huge advances in the last six months which I feel only happened because I invested in myself:
- I was able to battle past huge procrastination issues and get the 3rd set of edits completed of my book. I am now in the final editing stages and can see the light at the end of the tunnel to get my book to market!
- I engage with professionals to produce the best product i.e I hired an editor, proofreader and cover designer.
- I am building my author platform by continuing to produce relevant and useful content related to my brand on a consistent basis on this blog.
- I have overcome my aversion to social media to use it as a tool to help me build my brand. I have chosen just 2 platforms for the time being where I am active (Twitter/FB) and link to other platforms by automatically scheduling my blog posts to go live there.
- Over the course of a year, I have now created over 120 articles. I am now thinking about how I can repurpose this valuable content
- Establishing my online presence, proclaiming I am an author and talking to people has directly led me to 3 speaking opportunities this year! This is amazing as I want professional speaking to be one of my income streams. Speaking in front of people is always daunting, but I push past those feelings by just going for it. Some of the places where I will be speaking this year include Google Campus, The Bank Of England and my local library.
(5). Build Your Support Success Network
I asked Joanna a very embarrassing question when I was at this event. I told her I had no author friends and didn’t know how to find any! Writing can be a lonely pursuit!
And she said ‘go to events’. And that is exactly what I did! I went to workshops and conferences where authors would be.
Being an introvert, it can be daunting to go up and introduce myself to people, but I pushed ahead.
I now have a network of authors who I can speak with and lean on when I need help.
It’s also great to be amongst people I admire and who inspire me. Being with authors who are doing exactly what I hope to be doing is inspiring.
I also joined Alli, the professional membership body for professional self-published authors who have been a wealth of support and knowledge. You don’t have to be alone on this path when you find your network and tribe of supporters.
(6). Build your Author Brand
I have finally started my mailing list after months of procrastinating because I didn’t know how to technically set one up.
After a few hours of googling and using Mailchimps support system, I finally nailed it. (And in hindsight it’s really not that difficult!). The key is to just get started.
My list is small right now, but the main thing is I have started it and have a clear call to actions on my site to where subscribers can sign up.
I decided to give away the first chapter of my book for free as an ethical bribe to get readers to sign up to my site. I am sure this may change in the future, but for now, that’s what I offer. You can see my sign up page here.
(7). Get Social!
I have connected my blog post to all my social media accounts where I have a presence so that my work is more visible on more platforms. This allows my blog posts to automatically be sent out to multiple platforms without taking any more of my time.
This one change has doubled the visitors on my website (I used Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Medium).
This took a bit of tinkering around to get the setup correct, but once it’s in place, it runs itself.
Set it up on auto-schedule to prevent social media from sucking up too much of your valuable time (when you should be writing or doing deep work!)
(8). What is your definition of success?
This is one fo the most profound questions I came away with from the workshop.
I know I am guilty of sometimes following what society expects and it takes courage to break away and follow your own goals and dreams.
So now that I understand that this writing business is a long-term game for me, something I wish to do until my last breath, I am no longer in a hurry to write million of words and get to the top of the charts overnight.
What I am interested in instead is learning, putting in the time into my craft, being an apprentice on this new journey and being patient with myself when things don’t go to plan.
Everything is hard when you do it for the first time. And anything you find easy to do today was hard at the beginning.
My book is around nine months late to publication, but perhaps it needed that extra time to get to the place it is now in. I know a lot more than I did nine months ago. And that is evident in the quality of the book I am about to publish.
I can say that I am a lot happier with my book. I am committed to producing the best quality product I can rather than rushing out trash to the market just for an arbitrary deadline.
And most importantly I want to love the process. I want to enjoy writing and building my business no matter how many books I may or may not sell.
Yes, it may be hard. I sometimes feel I am 10 years too late in this journey. But we are all on our own unique paths. Each person needs to carve their own truth.
The truth is there is never a right time to do anything. There is just now. So if you are thinking about writing. Do it.
If you think you can’t make a living from your writing, then look to people who are doing that already and start doing it.
Commit to one small task on a daily basis, and you will be amazed at what you have achieved in one year.
Thanks to Joanna and Orna for helping me to get to this point in my author journey and for continuing to inspire me as you share your learnings.
- There are still a few tickets left for this workshop at the time of writing this post.
- If you are a professional self-published author and looking for great resources and support, The Alliance of Independent Authors is a great source of support and knowledge. Find out more here.
My book ‘Escape The Cubicle’ will help you to find your passions, live on purpose and unleash your potential.
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