One woman’s thoughts on why we should follow our passion, stay positive, and maintain a balanced lifestyle for maximum productivity. Jess shares her tips through her personal journey in the digital publishing scene.
I first ventured into the e-publishing scene in mid-2009. This was just before the eBooks scene took off. Since then, I’ve had a series of twists and turns in my entrepreneurial journey.
I have been working full-time on my publishing company since I graduated from college in 2010. I’m happy to share some of the things I’ve learned so far with other young professionals who want to start their own business and/or achieve the targets they set for themselves.
1. Have Clearly-Defined Goals
I decided to try out digital publishing since my first two novels were commercially uncategorizable.
It took me a couple of years to figure out the type of “thing” I really wanted to do—and the direction I wanted to move in—with regards to what “my company” was about.
I jumped into the independent writing/publishing scene with a lot of passion, but with a lot of impulsiveness as well. I literally just went wherever I felt like going, because I had the freedom to do so (creatively), without having a huge amount of overhead costs to see to (I was and am pretty much a DIY type of person when it comes to formatting eBooks, designing book covers, web design, so on and so forth).
It took me a LONG while to figure out some kind of mission statement. Just saying that I loved to write or wanted to make a difference was far too vague in terms of branding. Ultimately I decided that what I really wanted to do was to create original stories that are both entertaining and meaningful, which became the official mission statement of my company.
Creating this mission statement was important as it helped me to focus on and define the thing I was truly passionate about. I then went on to select a couple of niche genres I could work in. When I first started off, I was jumping around trying to do too many things at once, which kept me from working in a smart and objective way.
Having clearly-defined goals means you waste less time and effort trying to figure out how to get what you want.
2. How to Overcome Career Obstacles—Stay Positive!
Here are some of the “career obstacles” I’ve experienced so far:
a) Got some taboo-themed eBooks banned by several retailers (2010)
b) Thought I had found a clearly-defined niche genre to work in (2011)
c) Those products got buried by the flood of Fifty Shades inspired eBooks (2012)
d) Wikipedia page (uploaded in early 2012) got deleted (in mid-2013). Reason: “Wikipedia doesn’t want this content.”
While I have occasionally ranted and raved about these incidents on my website, ultimately even I know that’s not going to be any kind of solution if I don’t actually do anything about it.
With the case of Wikipedia, I decided not to waste time by getting into petty squabbles with Wiki admins. I shifted my focus on getting media mentions in credible/reliable sources to showcase them on a media page on my website instead.
Staying positive helps you to be thankful for the things you do have in life, and for the people who really stick around and who support you, even when you feel really pathetic, annoyed, or “down in the dumps” because of a temporary setback.
It reminds me of the quote: “When one door closes, another one opens.”
If it weren’t for my digital publishing endeavors, I wouldn’t have a portfolio or website that people could visit. I was invited to take part in a couple of writing events in late 2012, which was a huge honor. The program director who contacted me said she found me “through my website.”
Those are the types of things that really make your efforts worth it, in terms of both recognition and the enjoyment from socializing, networking, and working with people in your respective field.
3. Keep Listening/Observing/Improving
I know that’s a lot of factors in one point, so I’ll summarize this point with a few quotes that I found very useful and motivational.
a) “I criticize by creation—not by finding fault.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
b) “Take advice from people who are doing what you want to do.” ~ Jonathan Roye
c) “When you’re doing your own thing in the business world, you’ll know very quickly when something is working, or when it’s not.” ~ Family Friend
4. Routine and Relaxation
As a creative person, I find that having a routine helps. Along with a mini to-do list, I set aside a certain amount of time to do the things I need to see to in order to get some work done.
My routine also includes exercise. I do a basic yoga routine every day (or every other day), which takes me around ten minutes at most. The routine is called the Sun Salutation. It’s a series of poses that are supposed to be done in one fluid motion. Flexibility, relaxation and mental calm are just some of the benefits of this ten-minute exercise.
It is well worth to invest that ten minutes of your day towards improving your health. After all, you need vigor and good health to see to your projects!
This is why it’s best to ensure you have quality sleep as well. This is a necessity, not a luxury. I’ve noticed that if I watch really exciting crime dramas or read sensational tabloids just before sleeping, I usually don’t get a good night’s rest because my mind works overtime in Dreamland. So I try to “laze around” for a bit just before sleeping, so that I feel more energized and refreshed the next day.
Relaxation helps bring about the mental calm that comes with objectivity. When you’re very tired or stressed or disorganized, you are less able to see things clearly. You need a clear head to work efficiently and problem-solve when required.
5. Don’t Give Up / Keep Going
Enjoy your successes, big or small, keep arrogance at bay, and stay on course.
Right now, I’m continuing to expand my company’s direction the way I want it to go. For me, the biggest joy that comes from entrepreneurship is having full business as well as creative control over what I do.
I’ll end this article on a short and sweet note—sometimes, passion is all you have as fuel.
That can come in very handy, because work never really feels like work when you’re doing something you are genuinely passionate about.
Jess C Scott relishes writing for a living (which allows her to obsess over subject matter such as sex, crime and the taboo). Jess is a 20-something who has always combined her personal values with her business goals. Her website is http://www.jessINK.com
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