Business Success Top 10
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In this episode, I share with you my top 10 things you need to set your author business up for success. Not all these items have to do with numbers, some are your mindset. Our mindset is as important to our success as knowing our numbers or creating a great book. After working with small businesses over many years, these are my top 10 items which I feel every author business (really any business) needs to be successful.
Lots of resources for this episode!
Get your FREE Business Success Top 10 List!
Get your FREE Human Design Chart*
Book a Human Design reading with Dana Phillips for an overall reading and life purpose or to learn more about Human Design.*
Book a Human Design reading for Authors with me!
Take your Gallup/Clifton Strengths test. This does require a fee.*
Becca Syme’s Write Better-Faster Academy with courses and Quitcast links.*
I have several Author Services to help you build a strong foundation for your business.
Learn more about Indie Publishing the business of being an author, purchase the book: Business and Accounting for Authors
*These are NOT affiliate links and I don’t receive anything if you click the links. I’m providing these as FREE resources to help you in your indie author business and career.
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If you’d like to support the show, you can donate to buy me a coffee at buymeacoffee/IABG. These donations help support the cost of hosting, editing, and production of the podcast.
Welcome to the Indie Author Biz Guide Podcast. I’m Tora Moon, genre bending fantasy and sci fi author, indie business author, and entrepreneur. Here we talk about the business of self-publishing, or as I prefer to call it, indie publishing. As an indie author, you have entered the wonderful world of entrepreneurship!
On this show, I guide you through the rocky waters of the indie publishing industry. I share business basics and principles you can apply to your author business, really, any business. Other indie authors share their experiences and expertise to give you insight in your career and build your business. You can download your free indie author business checklist, find additional resources, and the show notes at Indie Author Biz Guide dot com. And now, here’s today’s episode.
Hello fellow Indie Authors. Welcome to this week’s episode of the Indie Author Biz Guide Podcast. In this episode, I’ll share with you my top ten things you need to set up your author business for success. Listen to the end for a free resource you can download to help you in your indie author business.
My Personal Update. Just like you, I’m an authorpreneur and I have writing projects that I’m working on. And since I write both fiction and nonfiction, I usually have a project or three going on at the same time. And as I am recording this at the end of December of 2022, here’s an update of what I’m working on in my writing.
So for my fiction, I’m finishing writing the last few scenes of Covenant Bound. Now this is taking me forever to write those last three or four scenes! Covenant Bound is the prequel to my Sentinel Witches series, and it’s the story of how Catlyn’s powers were bound. I started this as a short story, and we’re now 40,000 words and still not done, so it’s a novel.
For my nonfiction writing, I’m working on the second book of the Indie Author Guide series, which is the Business Plan for Authors, and I’m going through the beta comments on that. And I’m also, as I said, two or three projects. I’m also working on writing and producing the course that goes along with the Business and Accounting for Authors, kind of using the same type of information as the book. In fact, the book will be one of the resources of the course, but it will have some additional information as well.
So that’s what’s going on in my writing world and on with the episode.
There are many things that you have to have in place for your business. They don’t have to be put in place all at once. You can take some time to do this. And these are things to consider, especially when you’re writing your business plan or when you’re first starting out your business. If you’ve been in business for a while, these are things that you may want to consider if you have in place. And if you don’t, should you?
ONE – NAME YOUR BUSINESS
Number one, use a business name, a publishing company, rather than your own. This will help your mindset of treating your writing as a business rather than you just writing and publishing books. And it will help other people treat your writing as professionally as well. When you go to talk to an independent bookstore about carrying your books, you can say when they say, “Hey, who’s the publisher?” You can say, “Why Lunar Alchemy Publishing Company publishes my books.” That gives it a level of professionalism than saying, “Hey, I published my books,” does.
Nothing wrong with you publishing your book. That’s what all of this is about, is us indie publishing and self-publishing our books. But we want to do it in a manner that is in the highest professional way possible. And having your business name or a publishing company name helps do that.
And along with this in the United States, I advocate getting your EIN or employer identification number. This is available whether you have employees or not and for your DBA. And what this does is give your business its own Social Security number or identification number for tax I.D. purposes. So when you’re filling out your tax I.D. forms for Amazon or Ingram Spark or any of the other platforms or anything else, then you can list your company’s EIN number rather than your Social Security number.
And this helps add a bit of anonymity in that you’re not spreading your Social Security number out there. I like using my EIN it’s just helped separate me a little bit from my business.
TWO – CONTINUE LEARNING
Number two, learn about business management and principles to be a better authorpreneur. You are an entrepreneur now. You have your own business. Hurray! Yay! You are calling the shots. You’re doing what’s right for you and your business.
So now that you are an entrepreneur, you’re also a solopreneur. You are an entrepreneur. All of those lovely preneur words. You need to learn how to be the best entrepreneur and business person that you can be. There are some things within this that are specific to being an author, but a lot of business basics and business principles apply to no matter what business you have.
And that’s the purpose of this podcast, is to help give you some of that education that you need on the business side. And other things maybe we’ll get into craft, but mostly on the business stuff. Part of this doesn’t matter where you are in your indie author career. Whether you’ve written one book or 50, or you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing this for years, is doing your continuing education.
And that includes continuing your education and learning about business practices and principles and about your craft because your craft affects your business. If you are increasing your craft and developing your craft even more, that means more sales, better business.
This includes going to writers conferences like the 20 books to 50K conference is a really good one. It includes for fantasy authors, the LTUE Conference every year in February is fabulous for not only increasing your craft, networking with other authors, and learning more about the business of writing. So find those that are in your area. I know Self-Publishing Formula or Launchpad, (they’ve just rebranded as Launchpad). Whether that’s their podcast or they have, they do a live conference now.
That’s another place, you can listen to podcasts, like this one, to increase your education. Joanna Penn’s Podcast, The Creative Penn is amazing and great for not only the creative side of your business but the business side, and she’s very much into what’s happening in the future and thinking about the future of our business. That’s a good one to learn about your future, about your business.
Reading books, watching YouTube videos. Becca Syme’s QuitCast is a really good one that she does video only on your writer’s strengths and things that you should quit and things that you should keep.
THREE – CREATE A BUSINESS PLAN
Number three create a business plan and regularly update it. And this applies to any business and wherever you are in your business. A business plan is especially good when you’re just starting your business to help you figure out what you want to do with your business and kind of get some ideas of what’s important to you.
Even if you’ve been in business for ten years, looking at or creating a business plan can be incredibly helpful because what you thought you were going to do ten years ago may not be what you’re doing now. Things change. Even looking at your mission statement again is helpful because you’ve changed in that ten years. And if you want help writing a business plan, I do that and I’m working on a book and writing an author business plan.
FOUR – PLAY IN YOUR OWN SANDBOX
Number four, take control of your IP and your platform and make sure you’re playing in your sandbox and not just other people’s. This goes along with making sure you have your own ISBNs because that’s one way you control your IP. Having a website that you direct people to. It can include, if that’s where you are in your business, selling direct. It can include going wide and selling on multiple platforms.
This is part of why having a business plan and updating it regularly because things change. You may have started out in the Select program on Kindle Unlimited, and now you’re rethinking that decision. And that decision will have may have an effect on other parts of your business. So having your business plan and looking at that will help you with that.
FIVE – PAY ATTENTION TO ACCOUNTING DATA
Number five, pay attention to the data found in your accounting and make decisions from that. There is a lot of data in your accounting that will help you make better decisions. It will show you the effect of your decisions as well. And you want to make decisions on your accounting data and the data of your business, not on what other people are doing.
Another author may be may have great sales in the summer. Your business on the other hand, your sales may tank in the summer. You need to look at your accounting data to find out what works for you, what ad campaigns work for you and your books. Are Facebook ads good or Amazon ads good? Maybe they’re not. Maybe what’s good for you is doing Bookbub ads or some other kind of marketing. But you don’t know that until you look at your data.
SIX – BUILD YOUR MAILING LIST
And number six is build a mailing list. And this goes along with number four, controlling your IP and your platform. You own your mailing list, not somebody else. And it’s important to have your mailing list and maintain that and grow that because that’s how you can connect with your readers.
No matter how awesome your sales are on Amazon or Kobo or Apple, you don’t know who your readers are because they cannot share that information with you. It’s against privacy laws. So to know who wants to read your books, you need to have your own mailing list.
And we all know how capricious Amazon can be and some of these other platforms. They can shut down your account like that. Now, if you don’t have your own mailing list and your own platform, you’re screwed. But if you have your own mailing list, then you can tell your readers where else to find you if something happens. Something happens to your Facebook account, your TikTok account, your Instagram account, that’s playing in other people’s sandbox.
If you’ve built your mailing list and something happens, you’ve had one too many content violations on TikTok, then you can tell your people where else to find you. You set up another TikTok account, you can tell them what your new account is.
SEVEN – WRITE A MISSION STATEMENT
Number seven, write a mission statement. And this you will hear in just about every class on starting a business is writing your business statement, and it applies to an author just as much as any other business.
What a mission statement does is help you really solidify and think about your why. Why are you writing? What are you writing? Your core values and how they fit in your writing. And this is not something that you write once and put it away. You may be on your 50th book and year five, and you want to look at that mission statement to see if you’re still on point or if things have changed in your life. If you are now doing something else and why are you doing that something else.
These last three tips are more about the mindset of being an author. And our mindsets of being an author, and our business mindsets, do affect our business and our writing.
EIGHT – WORK ON YOUR MINDSETS
Number eight is working on your mindsets, especially your money mindset and your business mindset.
If you are having trouble making money, look at your money mindset. What do you believe about money? Do you believe money is the root of all evil? Well, if you do, there is no f-ing way you are going to make money because you have this belief that it’s evil, so you’re not going to make it. Do you have the belief that money is dirty?
You’re not going to make money in that case. So look at your mindsets about money, especially to determine if that is creating a stumbling block for you making the type of money that you want.
And this goes along with what is your mindset about having a business? Do you believe, like my parents believe, having a job is better than having a business? If that’s your mindset that you like the security of having a paycheck and a job, then writing full time may not be what’s right for you because writing full time and this is a business is not going to give you that financial security of a paycheck every week or every every week. So look at those mindsets.
NINE – SEPARATE YOUR SPACE
Number nine, have a separate space or dedicated space for your writing, and this works into your mindset as well.
When you have a dedicated space for your writing, then when you go to there, there’s this little switch that gets turned on in your subconscious and in your mind that says, “Oh, we’re here to write. Good! Go.” You don’t have to play those games of, “Oh, I need to be in the mood to write.” Question that premise as Becca Syme states. Do you really need to be in the mindset or in the mood to write? Or can you train your brain to when you sit down at your writing space, whether that’s a corner of your bedroom, a separate office, a space in your living room, on your kitchen counter, whatever you choose, that that’s where you go to write.
Is that going to a coffee shop? I know Joanna Penn has mentioned in several of her podcasts that she writes better when she’s at a coffee shop. Is that what you need to do and find? That is her separate space. I love in the summer time, going up into the mountains and writing where I’m outside. And you may want to separate space for your business activities and that’s really great to have a door so that when you’re done you can shut it and you’re done for the day. Especially if you have tendencies for being a workaholic and having a door on your office space, also if you live with people, family, and you’re working at home, having a door on your office that you can shut is a cue that (you can put up a sign if you need to) that says, “Hey, I’m working. I’m at the office just as much as if I left the house and went to the office.” My daughter works at home. She’s a lawyer. She works at home, but she is training her children, you know, at two or four, that when she has her office door closed, she’s not home. They can’t just go run in and ask her whatever. You may need to do that with your writing as well.
TEN – KNOW YOUR STRENTHS
And number ten, which I think many people don’t do and don’t consider as part of setting up their business for success and their writing for success, but I think is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself and for your business.
Learn about your strengths and lean on them and find out what you’re good at doing and do those things. Find out what you’re weak on and what you can do to strengthen those or prop those up. Or are those things that it’s just better not for you to do?
And there are two places where you can do this that I highly, highly recommend. The first one is find out what your Human Design is. This is based on your time of birth and where you were born. And I will link in the show notes where you can go and get a free one. And if you want to learn more, you can get a reading.
I do reading basic human design readings for authors to help them look at their human design and how that can help them in their writing and in their business. And I have a good friend, Dana Phillips, who is fabulous at doing human design readings that help you figure out your life purpose and help you figure out who you are through your Human Design.
And the second one that I highly recommend that I’m just learning about now and that I’m completely fascinated by is the Gallup or Clifton strengths. And this you can take a test for and there is a fee for it. If you’ve heard anything about the Write Better-Faster and Becca Syme, she’s always talking about the Clifton strengths.
Having taken my Clifton strengths test, it made a lot of sense, and it gave me some aha moments and it gave me some places where I could relax. Knowing that my woo strength, which is wooing and persuading people, which is what you need for writing ad copy, is like my number 31 strength. It’s I don’t have that strength. And knowing that gives me a sense of peace that oh, writing persuasive ad copy is not part of my wheelhouse. And as much as I’ve tried, there’s a reason why it isn’t in my wheelhouse. It’s not one of my strengths. So that’s something I can look at as part of my business saying, Oh, that’s not one of my strengths. That may be a place where I want to hire out to somebody where that is their strengths.
And I’m really seeing how the Clifton strengths and Human Design dovetail and work together. And I’m looking for volunteers… on looking how that does and looking at your Clifton strengths and your Human Design and seeing how those work together as a writer in our writer businesses and our author businesses. So if you’re curious about that, to contact me and what I would love to do some work with you.
I invite you to take a look at all of these ten tips of success for your business and what have you done. What do you think you might need to do? What sounds interesting to you? What went, ooh, hmm. Maybe I need to look at that. Or “Oh, that sounds fun and exciting.”
I do have a free resource that list these ten tips out and a little bit of explanation for them available on my website. You can get your free copy of the ten things you need to set up on your author Business for Success at my website at Indie Author Biz Guide, that’s B-I-Z guide dot com forward slash biz success top ten and that’s B-I-Z success top ten and I’ll have a link to that in the show notes.
And if you need help developing your author business, creating your business plan, or want to learn more about human design, I can help. You can find more information on my website at Indie Author Biz Guide dot com forward slash author Dash Services.
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Indie Author Biz Guide podcast. I hope you found value in it.
You can get your free business checklist, find more information and any downloads mentioned at Indie Author Biz Guide com forward slash podcast.
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Thank you and I hope you have an amazing day!