Posted on April 5, 2023
Michelle Savage has been a brilliant writer for years, helping individuals and businesses find their unique voice, target the right audience, and gently lure those customers into taking the bait of the call to action. After helping several authors navigate the waters of working with publishers or trying to self-publish, Michelle decided to take the leap and become a publisher herself. In this episode, she joins Steph Silver to share the journey that took her from writer to publisher and how you, too, can do the same. There are so many authors who have stories worth telling but just can’t share them. Let Michelle help you get unstuck from this dilemma as she tells us more about the world of publishing and the power of storytelling. Don’t miss out on this great conversation!
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Taking The Leap From Writer To Publisher With Michelle Savage
This episode’s guest is Michelle Savage. Michelle Is a writer and the Founder of Sulit Press. She helps creative entrepreneurs make the leap from aspiring authors to publish authors in half the time it takes to do it alone.
Thank you so much for joining me, Michelle.
Thank you for having me, Steph. It’s great to be here.
We’ve been talking for a long time about a lot of different things. I’m excited to share your story with everybody. Why don’t we start off with you telling us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a publisher?
It’s that long and winding road. Nothing’s been a linear path in my career. Several years ago, that little voice inside that had always wished, “You want to be a published author. You want to be a writer. You want to make money at this,” was getting louder. I went down the road of finding different opportunities where I could write, get published, and make money. That snowballed quickly into a career in writing.
I started out in journalism. I did online journalism for our local online paper in Austin. I did the lifestyle section there. When that ended after writing about 350 articles for that online publication, I went down the rabbit hole of content marketing and helping businesses to build their brand voice. I loved working with entrepreneurs to help them create the right message for their mission.
Over time, here and there, I would work with an author here to help edit their work, help them write some chapters, or help them do a book launch. More and more, I fell in love with working with authors. Right about that time, I said, “I want to only work with authors. This is so much fun.” I turned around, and I don’t know how, but all of my clients were authors at that time. It coalesced at the same time that my desire to make it happen came about. It was all this meant to be feeling.
I hadn’t intended on starting a publishing house. I loved helping authors write, edit their stories, do the launch, and marketing of their books. Along the way, they would bring in the other publishers they were working with and I would act as a liaison to help them through that process. I enjoyed all aspects of walking authors through that process, but I felt like I had to let them go to the publisher. Unfortunately, they weren’t having a great experience.
Time and time again in that hybrid publishing space, there is a tendency to have companies make a lot of promises and they don’t always follow through. I felt like I couldn’t care for my authors all the way through the process as I love to do. It came as a download into my brain one day of, “You’re going to start a publishing house.” I thought, “No way. That sounds hard. I don’t want to do that. God, I thought we talked about this.”
An agency sounds like a lot of work, but it came as this complete business plan. When I fell into it and thought about it, it made sense. I sat down and wrote out the entire thing. Every step and every turn I took, the support that I needed came in to help guide the whole process. In September 2022, we launched Sulit Press. We are in the process of publishing our first book. It’s been a wild ride to get to this point.
Being a publisher sounds fancy in New York City and untouchable to a lot of people because most people haven’t gone through that process. They don’t know a publisher or anyone that’s been published. If they do know someone that’s been published, it’s still this in-the-backroom kind of thing. Tell us what it means to be a publisher, and then what the process is like to get published.
We are in the hybrid publishing space. Before I get to what that means, a lot of people think of publishing only as working with what we consider The Big Five and Penguin Random House. You have to have an agent. You query tons of different publishers and hope they pick your book. They give you this big advance. This is the history or old-school way of getting published. It’s hard. It’s a years-long process. On the other spectrum of that, people have been self-publishing. It’s because of Amazon and making that so easy for people to publish their own work that there are a lot of people who can do it all themselves.
In the hybrid publishing space where I work, it’s a combination of that. We’re much more accessible. You don’t have to have an agent. You don’t have to take years. It’s easier to gain access to a quality publisher. It’s much more professional than doing it yourself. We have an in-house team that knows exactly how to make your book look amazing. You can still do mass distribution if you want in bookstores. You’re still showing up online.
We still help you do all of the media marketing and create the media kits so that you can have a strong launch for your book. It’s much more personalized instead of the DIY where you have to do everything yourself or the traditional where it’s only a few get through the Golden Gates. You’re still doing all the marketing yourself for the most part. We’re in that space where we are here to create good books, but make it a good experience for the author.
What makes you so passionate about writing and working with authors?
Honestly, it was something that was born into me. It’s been a desire and a passion my whole life. Since I was a little girl, it was one of the first things I ever wanted to do. The first place I could go by myself in the town where I grew up was the library. It was four blocks away. My first bit of freedom was to walk there. I’d come back with armloads of books and lay in the sun on the floor and read.
I loved writing. I’d turned my closet into a writing office when I was eight. I had other passions that took me away from that as a career. I was a modern dancer for a long time. I did things around that supported the flexibility I needed to dance, but it was always in the back of my mind that I would come back to it.
Even in college, my minor was in composition. I took all sorts of writing courses, even with my major in anthropology, so that I could write about whatever I was learning. I knew it was always going to be part of my life, but I didn’t have that drive right out of college to say, “I have to do this right now.” I had another passion that was more time-sensitive to my physical body. You can’t dance professionally for long in your life most of the time. I got to follow that dream. Right about the time that was expiring, the desire for writing came to the forefront.
Working with authors, I love helping them get their stories out into the world. I feel like everyone has a story worth telling. I get so excited to hear what their vision is and help them share that with their audience. A lot of times, authors have a great story to share, but they don’t know to get it all down on paper. They get stuck in the writing process, or they’ve written a great manuscript, but are not sure how to get it into the hands of readers and build that engaged audience.
Not only do I have a writing and editing background, but my marketing experience helps me serve authors in a complete way. I love the moment that they get to hold the book in their hands for the first time or share it with someone, or when they start getting reviews from readers of how that story touched their lives and know that it wasn’t a selfish pursuit. I truly believe that stories are how we engage with each other. We learn. It’s how we’re entertained. It’s how we’re inspired. There’s nothing more important than stories and storytelling.Stories are how we engage with each other, learn, be entertained, and be inspired. There’s nothing more important than stories and storytelling. Click To Tweet
It’s so culturally imperative. It’s been our cultural glue for centuries.
It’s also how we feel less alone, either because we’re telling a story that’s through our own perspective or if you hear a story or read a story of someone else who’s experienced something similar to you, you realize you’re not alone. It may be you read something and you’re like, “If they can do it, I can do it, too,” or, “They did that so poorly. I feel pretty good about myself.”
There are all those perspectives. I need all of it. That’s what Instagram is for if you don’t have time to read. Instagram is all about stories, too. It’s about seeing inside the lives. That’s what we do through books, whether it be fiction or non-fiction. It’s always about putting ourselves inside somebody else’s world. It’s cool that you get to be a part of that. At what stage do people usually come to you, or do you want them to come to you? What types of authors do you work with?
We are a non-fiction publishing house. Right there, that limits us to the genres within non-fiction. Although, I’ve had three people come to me for poetry and I’m like, “It’s on the line.” Typically, I work with coaches, entrepreneurs, and folks who want to share their stories through memoirs. It can be anything from a how-to book to family history. All of the non-fiction lights me up. I get excited about that.
Is there a particular type of person or author that you like to work with?
I like working with a lot of coaches and folks that have a story to share. They want to tell their personal story through memoirs, industry books, or how-to books. There is such a wide range of authors I love working with. You asked what part of the process are they usually in when they come to me or if I want to start working with them. It can be at any phase during the process. The hardest phase is that everyone says, “You publish. I’ve always wanted to write a book.” I think, “Please do that and come see me.”
With that said, I do offer some book coaching and some opportunities to help people and guide them through. I like to guide authors through the process, but there’s only so much that I can do one-on-one. It’s less than top secret at this point, but we’re working on a program called Book School. It is so that we can help authors in more of a group setting to do that. It can be pretty cost prohibitive to do one-on-one book coaching if that’s not where you are, and I would like to be able to serve authors at all levels.
In addition to publishing solo books, the other offer that we have are multi-author books. The very first book that we’re publishing is a multi-author book. It’s where each author contributes one chapter to a book to become a published author. There are lots of benefits to that in that you gain the power of the network that you’re working with. The book is not launching 1 author to 1 network. It’s 15 or 20 authors to 15 or 20 networks. It exponentially gains visibility and helps to promote the story further and get it into the hands of many more readers.
The other bonus of that is you don’t have to write beyond writing one chapter. You get to go through an eight-week coaching process to help you write your chapter. It’s intimate. There is a lot of hands-on support throughout the entire process, and it’s a lot shorter. We are doing our first multi-author book. We have fifteen authors enrolled. It is blowing my mind how much fun it is.
What’s the book called?
The book is called Show Your Work: Successful Women Share the Bumpy Roads to Their Biggest Wins. It is all about women in entrepreneurship or women who are carving their own paths through their own career paths. I knew the process was going to be fun. I knew the authors were going to show up and write their best. What I didn’t expect was how impactful the coaching calls would be.
Once a week, all of the authors get together on Zoom and share where we are in the process. I help guide authors if they’re stuck and give them different writing devices to try out. Right away on the first call, I was like, “This is where the value is.” It goes so far beyond getting published, and I didn’t know that. All of the women showed up wholly immediately. There was no surface-level small talk. Everybody dove in, got deep, and got to know each other. They started making plans outside of that to write with one another, trade stories, and support each other.
The network is one of the biggest benefits of being in that process. If you’re someone who said, “I want to be an author,” but a whole manuscript seems like a lot to chew all at once, this is a great way to dip your toe into the water, write a chapter with a lot of support, get published quickly, and launch it to a huge network with a powerful group of authors.
What a great idea. Did you market this course and then they came together or did they come to you with the book idea?
We created the book title and the topic. I wrote an introduction. The authors, when I would talk to them or talk to women about this book, I could share with them the introduction. I created writing prompts, so they could feel into it and say, “This is a right fit for me right now.” It’s a book written mostly by and for women entrepreneurs. It is also a great marketing tool. They can not only write it off as a marketing expense, but use it as a launchpad for their next level if they want to be speakers, fill a course, or build their clientele. It helps entrepreneurs to be able to level up to be in a book like this. Maybe not all of our books will be directly related to business, but even if you’re trying to build your authorship and become known as an author, this helps you to do that.
That’s exciting. I’ve seen that multiple times. It’s not a new thing, but it’s a new trend of being able to get yourself out there quickly with multi-author books. The ability to have direct access not just to the other authors but to you as a coach and then your team for editing, art, marketing, and all those things is so incredible.
We’re having a good time.
In this Book School one, are you going to have more or is it a continuation?
This is the multi-author book program. We haven’t started book school yet, but that is in the works for later in 2023. We’ll continue to have multi-author books roll out throughout 2023 as well. If you didn’t make it into this one, keep your eyes peeled because there will be at least two more opportunities to be in a book this coming year in 2023.
Are the seats limited?
Yes. Each book will have twenty authors max.
Do you determine the theme each time and the title?
Yes, our team.
That’s so fun.
We’re brainstorming for our next one. It’s fun to toss around all the ideas.
That’s cool. How big is the team that you brainstorm with?
I have two permanent employees, both part-time, and I work with a team of other professionals. We have a social media professional and a marketing professional. I have editors, graphic designers, web designers, interior book formatters, and all of the team members that come together to make this happen in a smooth and professional way. I feel like I have lucked out because I get to work with the most incredible people on our team.
That’s the thing. I hear this all the time. People say, “I got lucky,” or all the things like that, or, “The universe aligned.” I think, “The universe has aligned. It has for you but also, you work hard. You put yourself in the right place and find people that are amazing.” You have to be amazing to attract those types of people who want to work with you. It’s not just a lucky day.
I didn’t wake up and it was all done for me, that’s for sure. Thank you for that. It is a lot of hard work, but it’s not like you wake up and work hard for someone else. It’s fun because, for me, I get to sit and do something that aligns with my bigger purpose. It’s using all the parts of me. I feel like I was made for this, so it feels like the right contribution to make at this time in my life. I don’t know how it will grow. We’ll see, but I know that the benefits go beyond me, and that feels good.
I didn’t mention this either, but the fun thing about the multi-author book in addition to all the other fun things about the multi-author book is that when it goes on sale, all the proceeds from the sale of the book go to a nonprofit here in Austin called Table of Grace, which is a children’s foster care center. The founder, Stacy Johnson, is going to be an author in her first book.
I was moved by the program that she started. I heard her tell her story at a luncheon one day. I hadn’t even launched the business yet. I bookmarked this organization in the back of my mind. I said, “When it’s time, that’s going to be the first contribution I make.” I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what that looked like. As I built the company, I realized that the multi-author book was the best way to be able to make a sizable contribution to an organization and still keep my business running even in its infancy. I’m very excited that that’s built-in.
As soon as she heard what we were up to and that she would be the recipient of the funds for this book, she said, “I want in.” She’s incredible. I’m so excited to get to have that reciprocal relationship going. I hope that we can kill it, knock it out of the park, sell a bunch of books, and support the kids, too in addition to all the authors.
I’m sure you will. You’ve talked about this whole synchronistic, beautiful process that you’ve been through, have been going through, and have been cultivating. What has been the hardest part of this whole process of either being an author or starting your own publishing company?
Honestly, it is that I still have retainer clients that I work with and I love. When I was starting the company, I always worry that I’m not going to give enough love and attention to each part of it. Not long ago, I thought, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this,” but bringing on the two new employees to help me has made everything so much easier. I had to take that leap to scale the publishing house in order to be able to give myself the peace of mind that I was serving all of my clients and the company to the best of my ability.
I don’t ever want to grow faster than I can do it well, but I also don’t want to play small and try to keep it all in my clutches. I had to do some letting go to bring on some help and trust. That is the best way to grow the company. It is to let other people bring their brilliance and their energy and help pick me up where I can’t do it all.The best way to grow the company is to let other people bring their brilliance and energy and help pick you up when you can’t do it all. Click To Tweet
It was a little bit hard to figure out exactly where to let go, who to bring on, and how much help I needed, but once I got through that process and could organize my time well, delegate more effectively, and let go, it made a big difference. We are poised to grow exponentially this 2023 because of the team that we have in place.
I’m glad you said that because I know a lot of our readers have gone through that process already. Especially in these types of businesses like graphic design, web design, and development where you can do all of it yourself. If you want to grow to be a business and not just a contractor, you have to let things go. It’s easy to start letting things go when it’s not something you have expertise in. You’re like, “I’ll outsource that thing. I’ll hire for that thing.” The hardest part is hiring for the thing that you are good at.
I went through that.
Tell me about that.
It was something so simple. I asked this amazing woman, Erin, on our team if she would write some email templates for our authors because we were creating media kits for all of our authors. It was something I can do myself. I’m a writer. I’m a copywriter. I know what I wanted to say. I know how to write copy that converts, and she can, too. In order to take something off my plate, not drive myself crazy, and also empower her to do what she’s fantastic at, I had to say, “Can you help with this?” Asking for help is a little uncomfortable at first, but I felt excited I could take one thing off the plate and know that I don’t have to do it all even if I could do it all.
It’s pretty new. Are you still revising and looking it over before it goes out, or do you have the trust?
There will still be a collaboration in the editing, but that’s because we’re building our brand together. Over time, I won’t have to do any of that.
It’s interesting. I’ve been in so many different roles in the agency world with Envision Creative where I used to work and VINE. I used to think I didn’t have any talents because I’m not a graphic designer, web developer, or web designer. All that’s a little bit changed. I’ve been doing this for so long that I’ve gotten to be a better writer and a better web developer, designer, and those kinds of things. I wouldn’t even begin to compare myself to like you or the good ones, but I’m capable. I have so much more knowledge than most people that are not in the marketing world. It was so easy for me to be on the outside and say, “I don’t have actual talent. I’m here holding the baton for the orchestra.”
That’s a huge talent.
It took me a little bit to realize where my talent was there and my understanding of the business. From all areas of business in marketing or not marketing, it is to be able to look from the top and say like, “This is what I miss about having an office.” It is being able to walk through the office and walk behind somebody and be like, “You’re a little bit off there. That’s not quite on brand. Do you remember they said that color? Don’t forget you’re called action,” or whatever it might be.
Being able to do that from a coaching standpoint, like you’re doing now, it’s such a different world to be in. It’s having all of the years of expertise and then working and guiding other people through. You’re doing that with your customers. You’re doing it with a team to be able to let go, guide, and coach. How does that feel?
It feels a little bit scary at first. Erin is in Colorado and another woman I work with, Christie, is up in Leander, which, in Austin, is an hour away. We don’t get to meet in person. I miss that collaborative energy of being in the physical space of getting to work with people because something magical always happens in that way. I don’t want to work in an office all day, every day. That sounds terrible to me. I like being in my little hole in my house. I like that quiet space.
I don’t want to micromanage everyone. I like when they bring me things and say, “I see we needed this,” and I didn’t even ask for it. I go, “Thank God.” That’s wonderful. It’s a little bit tricky for me because I’m a new manager or leader. I’m used to running my own show and managing that well. I’m new to managing others, so that’s a stretch for me as well.
Managing from afar is difficult, especially when you want to give autonomy and you haven’t managed before. It is not knowing the balance of, “Should I be checking in to see if they’re doing something today? Does that matter? Are they meeting their deadlines? How do I look at quality ahead of when the client needs to see it on a regular basis?” All those things from a remote standpoint are difficult. In managing the remote team, what does your collaboration look like?
We meet on Slack, so that’s great. We message all the time. We have a weekly meeting. This is brand new. We started not long ago. We have weekly meetings where we check in and say, “Here were the goals for last week. How did we do?” If anyone’s having trouble, I want to be able to ask and say, “What can I help with? What worked? What didn’t work? Are we on target for what’s next?”
Looking at what the overall big goals are that we want to achieve, and then creating actionable steps that we can all put on our calendars, take responsibility for, and know who’s doing what is important for us. It’s a lot of online communication, phone calls, and Zoom meetings to touch base. Being that they’re both part-time, they’re in contracts. They’re not employees. It’s different than saying, “You owe me this on this time. These are the tasks that we need done,” and they get them done on their time. They, every single time, have blown my mind and over-delivered. They are teaching me how to be a boss.
That’s an interesting way to look at it. If you have the right team members, they can if you are open to it. It sounds like you are falling into or climbing up to being a good leader by listening. That’s where great leaders come from. They are watching, listening, and learning, not just guiding. From my perspective, the leaders who are always focused on, “How do I guide the most and steer the ship,” are the ones who miss the most.
It sounds like you’re in this great in-between space of this collaborative place where you have professionals that are contractors. You don’t necessarily have to make sure that you make payroll every month. If there’s a project, there’s a project. You know that you’re paying for it, but you’re listening and guiding at the same time. That’s what I love about what I do. They get to do both sides with the listening and the guiding. Have you enjoyed that part?
Yeah. I love the collaborative part of this. Also, I should say I’m working with a coach who’s been helpful. Even before I had my first onboarding meeting, she guided me to say, “Here is a great way to approach this.” Having that outside perspective of someone who’s done it before and done it well is beneficial to me.
I’m also not like, “What do I do?” I’m here to run my company and I’m here to listen. I do have a clear vision for what I want, but it’s up to me to communicate that well and then listen to other people’s ideas of how they want to help jump on and make that happen. I want it to be a true collaboration. That’s where the sweet spot is. It’s fun for me. I don’t want to do it all by myself.
I don’t either. How did you find your coach?
She is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners or NAWBO here in Austin. In Austin, we started a chapter here in May 2022. I joined in August 2022. She works for a company that’s a sponsor for NAWBO. I met her through that organization. She’s phenomenal. I’ve had a lot of support. It keeps propping up along the way. She came in at exactly the right moment. She’s also an author of the book. That’s what happens. She’s been integral in doing things that I shy away from. She is making me look at hard numbers in ways that I go, “Ugh.”
Whether you have a partner or not, having a coach is so important. I’ve had a coach since I started my business. I’ve mentioned him several times. His name is Bill Small. He’s amazing. I’ve had people say, “Why would that person need a coach? They’re already the CEO. They’ve made it.” I’m like, “It’s even harder once you’re there.” I don’t know a lot about sports, but what I do know is that every major NFL player, NBA, or whatever it is has 7, 8, 10, or 15 coaches. They have coaches at every level of their life.
We’ve known each other for a long time, but I don’t know that you had a coach. That’s awesome. It helps you to see things differently and get an idea. You can tell them your secrets and have them give you real, true, and valuable information. You don’t have to be afraid of what they’ll say. It is like a therapist. You talk about life, business, and all the things. Unlike a therapist, they can give you advice, which is the best.
It’s so valuable because sometimes it’s not that she’s telling me something I don’t know. It’s that I need to be reminded. It’s something that you can see outside yourself. It’s in the back of my mind and I’m like, “I know. I needed to hear that.” I needed to be kicked in the rear a little bit in that direction because, for some reason, I was holding back or not clearing a block out of my way that I needed to move so that I could move forward. Everyone should have a coach.
It’s recognizing your own strength in a certain area.
That’s true, too.
I asked what the hardest thing was. What’s been the most favorite thing that you’ve learned so far?
There are so many. Going back to the coaching, I didn’t know I would love book coaching so much, or chapter coaching and working with authors in a group setting. I’ve worked with authors one-on-one for a long time. I love guiding authors in a group through the process of writing their chapters. There is a lot of what you could call life coaching that happens in the process. You’re not putting words on a page when you’re writing your story and saying, “I hope these sentences fit together.” You’re digging deep and getting vulnerable to be able to put a piece of yourself out there in the world. It is helping authors understand how to write about hard things without blowing up their whole life.
Everyone has those traumatic events in their lives that have helped them become the people that they are. It’s helpful to be able to have some guidance to write those things. Sometimes, authors come at it with a business. They’re like, “We’re going to write this book. It’s for my clients.” I’d say, “Remember to put a little bit of yourself in there.” It’s pulling out the stories of, “Tell me more here so that your authors can engage with you.” I love that coaching process. It’s a strength I have I didn’t realize I had.
One of the things that you do is give tips on Instagram, or you have stories of things that authors can be thinking about or learning from. One of the things that I liked that you said was to not be afraid to use your own voice. Everybody thinks that they need to be formal and they need to sound like it’s a college-level paper. That’s not what people want to read. That’s not what they’ll engage with. Everybody has their own personality and voice, which you do well. It’s partially probably because of your marketing background, but also your personality. You do a good job of taking on other people’s voices when you write. Can you expand more on that? I thought that was great advice.
It sometimes can be such hard work to write in your own voice. You have to work your way there if you’re not used to it. If you grew up writing term papers in school and trying to get the A, any kind of academic writing, or even writing for your work or your business, if it needs to be ultra-formal or technical, it can be hard to tell your story in your own voice. You write the way you talk. Write the way you have a conversation with people.
Let’s say you’re at a dinner party and you wanted people to listen to your story. Write that way because that’s how you engage the listeners. Be colorful. Don’t use big words to sound fancy. You turn people off when you do that. More people are starting to write that way. Marketers are writing that way. Even large companies are writing in a more casual tone that is human. We’re humanizing the marketing space.
We want to connect. We don’t want to be talked to. You say to write how you talk. I, a lot of times, don’t use words. I make big movements. It’s hard to write like that. Things have been going pretty well for you. Do you have anything that you put in place to keep you grounded and keep you away from that entrepreneurial anxiety thing that we all trip over all the time? What practices do you put in place to keep you true?
There are many practices. They’re varied daily and all over the place. The foundational thing I do every single day is get up in the morning and take time to myself before my kids get up. I sit, meditate, and pray. I tap in and try to listen closely to that inner wisdom or that small voice inside that’s guiding me forward because that’s where this all came from.
I know this is a business show, but it’s all mixed together for me. I do say a prayer every single day to show up and serve my authors, be present, and use the gifts and talents I’ve been given to lift other people up and show them what that is. Doing that takes the anxiety out of, “What’s next?” It’s being able to be here doing the thing that’s in front of me the best I can possibly do in connection with the people I’m so fortunate to be in connection with.
Every day when I do that, I get a little, as Gina Devee calls them, of the daily dazzle. She has a great podcast. She’s an author. I read her books and listen to her a lot. That daily dazzle, when you look for it, you always find it. That means that there’s going to be a surprise. There’s going to be that back-of-your-mind thinking of, “Things are going to go my way.”
I also have this mantra that I say all the time when I sit down to work or write and I’m feeling tired or stressed. I say, “Let it be easy. Let it come through me to serve the higher good.” It’s not about me and working so hard to get it right. It takes away that perfectionism. Circling back to the multi-author book, the Show Your Work theme is all about showing up as both a work in progress and a polished professional at the same time. I feel like the more I inhabit that feeling or that mission in my life, it takes that anxiety down a notch. It’s not that I don’t have it.
My husband will see me staring off into space and is like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “I’m thinking of eight things at once. I need to put sticky notes on my desk right now.” Sticky notes are also helpful. Prayer, meditation, and a whole lot of sticky notes, like an oak tree’s worth of sticky notes per year, help me. It’s also being physical. I work out. I walk a lot. I take yoga. Moving my body and stepping away from the work helps me be a lot more productive when I come to sit down. I can get right down into business.
How long do you take to do the meditation? How much before your kids wake up do you have to get up? I asked because you’re talking about female entrepreneurs. Some of them are like, “Are you stinking kidding me? I have to get up before my kids. I can hardly make it through the day.”
A caveat, I have teenagers. They’re not in elementary where they have to be at school at the crack of dawn. I get to get sleep in until 6:00, which is late for an entrepreneurial mindset. I’m not getting up at 4:00 to do a 6-mile run and meditate for an hour. It doesn’t take a lot. I get up at 6:00 and have my tea. Sometimes, I sit for fifteen minutes. That honestly shifts my entire perspective for the day.
Every once in a while, I’ll do it again for a few minutes. I take a moment to walk out on my back deck, breathe, look at the trees, feel grateful for a few things, and then go back to work. I also walk around the block and take my dog to the mailbox. He loves that. It takes a little bit of time to be intentional. It is intentionally being intentional for a few minutes here and there every single day.
Consistency is much more important than the length of time. My grandfather used to say, “I can have one drink a day according to my doctor, so I had one whiskey.” He has one whiskey a day. He said, “I can’t save them all up to have 5 or 6 on Sundays.” It’s that way where if you meditate, sit, or whatever it is your thing that gives you a way to center yourself, do it a little every day instead of trying to save it all up when you’re stressed out and do it all at once.Consistency is much more important than the length of time. Click To Tweet
It’s so much harder.
People try to do these long vacations. I took two weeks off and tried to make up for an entire year of stress in my business. It doesn’t work and then I’m bored.
I get that way. By the time you settle down, you’re like, “It’s time to go? I got here. I’ve been here for two weeks, but I now mentally got here.” What advice would you have for anyone who is getting ready to start their own business and leave their big company to be a solopreneur or take the next big step in their own business?
Go do it. Honestly, get a coach. If you don’t have an entrepreneurial background and you’ve been in a 9:00 to 5:00 job for your whole life, those skills that you’ve gained in your business are transferrable. It will help to at least get some kind of mentorship in the basics of getting set up. There are all kinds of high-level coaches over to mentors that volunteer. They’re across the nation, but in Austin, we have Score, which is a volunteer mentor group. They help entrepreneurs start their businesses.
If you’re not sure, there’s always help. There is also so much amazing free information out there, like podcasts. Find your favorite business podcasts and listen. Join networking groups so that you’re in an organization with other people who are doing it also. It’s so much easier when someone says, “I’ve got a guy for that. Come and talk to my graphic designer. Do you need a CPA? I love my person.” You get to meet people who do all of those things. Networking is key. If you haven’t already been doing that, I say to start that right away.
Social media is fantastic, but it’s easy to dream up these business ideas and get so absorbed in thinking, “What does my website look like? I’ve hit publish on my website, where are all my clients?” You have to not just create a social media presence or publish a great site, but you also have to get out, meet people, engage, and create real relationships not in that transactional way of, “Here’s my business card.”
It’s not a sale.
It’s about building those relationships. That has been key to the growth of my business. The other thing for me that’s been the biggest game-changer is that after years as a solopreneur writing, editing, and what have you, there were years of starting and stopping my business. It was feast or famine. I was like, “It’s going great. It’s not going great. I’m going to go get a different kind of work,” and then coming back.
The one thing that made the difference was when I said, “Enough. I am no longer available for failure. I will not tolerate anything other than success in this way.” I envisioned what that looked like and what kind of income I needed to make to feel like this was working for me. It was like I put blinders on. There was no other option. I had it.
When I stopped tolerating anything other than my absolute goal, I started attracting incredible opportunities. It was like I had needed to re-attune my energy to say, “This is what I’m going to do.” It’s not that every single thing was easy or every month was high, but I quickly grew my business and my income over the course of a year from making that one decision.
That’s been one of the biggest lessons of my life, and I’ll talk about that in a different episode. I’ll say the Tony Robbins quote, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” You can do the work to connect those dots. If you allow yourself to go down a certain path, then you’re more likely to go there.
We were talking about what you would tell people who are thinking about that transition and are ready to grow or scale. I repeat this quote all the time because it is my favorite, but it applies. It’s, “One life, so why aren’t we running like we’re on fire toward our wildest dreams?” I love that quote so much because it is the essence of why you are here. You’ve got this one short life, at least that you’re aware of, in this one time. It’s been proven when people die. The regret they have the most is the life they didn’t live, the chances they didn’t take, and the risks they didn’t take. What are we doing? Go for it. You either win or you learn.
I’ve done a lot of learning. That’s the thing about education. It never depreciates. You carry that with you and you get better over time. True success comes from that feeling when your inner you is congruent and in alignment with what you’re doing in the world. There’s no mask you put on for work. You show up as you, and you get to do your work as you. I can tell you that nothing feels better. It’s not a dollar amount of, “6 figures or 7 figures. That’s success.” It’s what does your life look like? Is it stemming from who you came here to be in this lifetime? You can keep evolving that over time, but that’s what gets me so excited about the work that I do. It is who I am.True success comes from that feeling when your inner you is congruent and in alignment with what you’re doing in the world. Click To Tweet
That is awesome. I hope everybody reads all the way through this episode because the end got more magical. I’m sad to say that we are out of time. I invite you all to follow @MichelleSavage and @SulitPress on Instagram. Find her online and find all those books that she’s coaching into the world, writing into the world, and creating. She’s fostering some amazing. Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you for having me.
I love you so much.
I love you.
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