This is my first blog post on http://www.octaviareese.com — I’ll be keeping you updated on milestones here with my book and other projects, while keeping my other blog, Road to Relovery separate and focused on personal and relationship health. Today’s big news: Vol 2 is ready for your hands!
I’ve learned so much since deciding to take my independent publishing more seriously and moving from e-book only to print. Here’s a list of some of my takeaways:
Independent Publishing is a BUSINESS.
- …for some, it might be a hobby. For me, it is a business. That means I have to treat it as a business including prioritizing my time, utilizing project plans with hard deadlines, tracking my expenses, and making boss decisions.
I am the CEO of my BUSINESS.
- Taking this perspective and being a BOSS means I have to be the decision maker, select risks with discernment, seek both wins and lessons, and make my business success a priority.
Keep notes and make no assumptions.
- I don’t think I need to break this down, but let me break it down: DO. NOT. MAKE. ASSUMPTIONS. Especially with friends or friends of friends. Being an entrepreneur usually means your team will start with people you already know. This also means that you might skip over the details or partner verbally instead of in writing because both of you are making assumptions about each other’s time, money, dedication and expectations. Don’t make foolish business decisions because you are business-ing with friends. Keep it professional, use written agreements, and if you can’t be professional with friends, don’t do business with them. Save the friendship, spare the drama.
Be wary of freelancers.
- I was thrilled to partner with exceptional talent for The Hibouleans series. However, sometimes it bit me in the behind. I’ve lost a total of $200, paid and never to be refunded, because I purchased services and was professionally ghosted. I’m grateful it was only $200 — this is nothing to sneeze at, especially being a single mom of three with one income living check-to-check until book sales take off, but I am fully aware it could have been worse. Still, be careful of your freelancer partner. Are they blowing you off, raking in new business but continually pushing you to the end of the line? Are they making you a priority? Are they delivering as promised? Are they communicating with you? I have learned to ask these questions early and often and that patience and understanding only goes so far. I was sad when I knew I had to cut them off of my team, but I had so much more peace knowing I had replaced them with reliable talent. The talent itself only goes so far if there is no business respect.
- To freelancers reading this: please read the next step and master the art of saying No. If you are inundated with orders, stop taking them until you catch up. Know your limit and provide accurate expectations. Communicate with your clients and if you need to let them down, do so tactfully — don’t wait until they break up with you. Leaving a sour taste in their mouths is not good for your business.
Practice Assertion and Master the Art of No.
- Bosses don’t have to be polite and avoid hurting feelings. Bosses need to make fast and hard decisions. Don’t mince words. Let me be clear, being direct does NOT equate being rude. You can be direct with compassion and tact. If you need to break up with a partner or a vendor, just do it. They’ll survive. This is especially relevant if you’re paying someone for a service. If the product you’ve hired someone to provide is not meeting your expectations, don’t hesitate; don’t be nice, cut it off, cut your losses and move on to what your vision truly is — this is your business, goal and dream — not theirs.
- “No” is not a bad word. Adding a “thank you” or “thanks anyway” makes it that much easier to swallow for the other side. If a concept, a vendor, an event, a cost, timing does not serve your business and catapult you towards your business goals, just say, “No.”
Know your audience.
- Where are you investing your time and money? Are you making your product available for all people in all places? If so, you’re doing it wrong. Think of one ideal person or group you want to speak to and focus on them. As you grow, you’ll be able to reach more people in more places, but don’t lose sight of the first reason you developed your product or brand. That person is the heart of your success.
- Ever since I decided to go on tour, I’ve been scoping out events and expos and book fairs where I can set up an attention-grabbing display, tickle the cello strings and be seen. But after the first three, I realized, hey, if my sales don’t at least cover the cost of my vendor registration fee, why am I here? Seems basic, right? It is. Don’t over-market yourself into loss. Find new ways to be seen that cost less or do more prep ahead of time to bring your audience to your expo table.
Don’t give away your voice.
- When you’re working with others in the early stages — be it co-hosts or interns or marketing professionals — don’t accept their help if they’re not properly representing your brand. This includes anything on your behalf like responding to emails, managing your social media pages, or booking your events. Work with them to speak from your voice, but if they’re not getting it, remember the magic words — “No, thank you.”
Work – Recovery – Repeat
- For those of you that know me, you know that my normal is abnormal. I have two baseline settings: Manic and Hyper Manic. I have an usual capacity to do A LOT and to take on more projects and responsibility than the average person. So for me, I have to make a conscious decision to stop and rest. Rest is critical for all people, even weird energy capsules like me. I thrive on hyper-drive, but the peace of mind I receive from rest and recovery is priceless. Remember to slow down sometimes.
Celebrate the wins!
- Being in hyper-launch mode can be addicting. You’re always looking for the next opportunity to grow and connect with your audience. But don’t forget while you’re still in the thick of the hustle, to celebrate the victories. Joy and gratefulness go a very long way.