The Hardest Lesson I Have Had to Learn as an Authorpreneur

One of the biggest mistakes I made on my Authorprenur* journey was doing everything for free. Everything from book reviews to interviews to consults was free at one time. I gave everything away. I even taught people the steps needed to publish books on their own without them giving me a dime.

*A play on the word entrepreneur, an authorpreneur is an author who blends publishing books with business practices. These authors do not only write and publish books, but they build brands.

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This might sound good. It might make your heart melt and make you shout “Halleluyah.” You might do a little praise dance for my commitment to service and admire my generous soul.

But you can save charity for your congregation and your nonprofit programs. This is not good for running a business because you train your audience to expect everything you do to be free.

This is what has happened to me.

Not only did doing everything for free teach my audience to expect free from me, but people also started taking advantage of me. They took the information I gave and tried to do it independently, so they didn’t have to pay for the service.

You also attract a low-paying tribe when you do everything for free.

Once you have set a foundation for giving your services away, it becomes difficult to start charging because you have already groomed and equipped people to expect this service to be free or extremely low-cost. It is much easier to charge your worth from the beginning.

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If you struggle with this or are just starting, you can schedule your day like a workday and only accept work during your work hours. I work from 10a-4p on Fridays. This means anything after 4 is set up for the next workday, Monday at 9am EST.

Now that your day is scheduled, what can you fit in that time? Do you write? Blog? Create Social Media Content? Are you answering questions? Emails? If people are constantly asking you questions, set up a discovery call system and put a price tag on that.

And by questions I mean, like, if you have a skill. Don’t be charging people for stuff and you don’t know what you are doing or talking about. That’s called a scam.

I don’t get paid to blog in general. Like, I am not being paid to publish this post. However, I do charge for Book Reviews, and Author Interviews featured on this blog, something I was not doing initially. After noticing how much time it took me to schedule the interviews (it can take hours) and put together the book reviews (this can take weeks), I switched things up a bit.

When Authors pay for a review* or Interview, it gives me more incentive to follow through. It also ensures I prioritize that project (paid projects supersede free ones). I also charge because I pay for space on this blog. This means this blog is no longer something I do for fun. It is also now part of my business.

*Paid book reviews featured on this blog do not guarantee a positive review so no, authors are not paying me for a positive review. Blog book reviews are also not posted to Amazon as paid reviews are against Amazon’s policy. 

It’s not even about the money. It is about putting value on your time.

Nowadays, saying you’re an entrepreneur can also mean unemployed, depending on who’s talking. The value has been cheapened by people chasing the next hustle. But a hustle is not a business.

The truth is if you are not charging for your work or constantly giving your books away for free, you do not have a business. You are either still hustling to see what will stick or have an expensive hobby.

Click Here for more Indie Author Basics. But Hurry. This series is moving to a new platform soon.

No Whining Wednesday: Force Nothing

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Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.

If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page here for past episodes.

I am aware there was no NWW episode last week. It is because I did not have a word to give. And I would rather say nothing than to speak just for the sake of speaking. In the words of Obbie West, the poet, “speaking just for the sake of speaking is the same as being silent.”

I almost didn’t post anything today either.

But as I thought about this series, why I created it, and why its existence is necessary, forcing things came to my mind.

IMG-6546(1)We know we cannot force things to happen, but we try to anyway. It is like we are fascinated by the chase. When we cannot get what we want when we want it, we whine and complain because we feel we failed to make it happen.

We stress ourselves out over things we cannot control. We become upset that we cannot force it as much as we try.

It is not until we let go that things happen as they were always intended to. Ever noticed that it starts to move as soon as you forget about something?

Think about misplacing something. It can literally be right in your face as you tear the house apart. Only when you calm down, relax, and focus on something else that you see that thing sitting on the table.

You think, “How in the world did I miss this? I’ve looked at that table four times!”

Or did you?

You looked at the table, but did you see what was on it? 

People are fascinated by my locs. They want to know what products I use, what my routine is, and how in the heck I got my hair to grow down my back.

These conversations are fun, especially for women. We get to giggle and be girly about products and things.

But the only honest answer to this question is nothing. I don’t do anything to my hair.

Of course, I wash it, oil it, and all that good stuff, but for the most part, I leave it alone, and it grows wildly.

Sometimes, you just need to leave that situation alone. Don’t complain about it, don’t stress about it. Don’t even think about it. Stop trying to force the revelations to come. What will be, will be.

So let it be.

No Whining Wednesday: Humility

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Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.

If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page here for past episodes.

Today’s inspiring word comes from Katerina Stoykova Klemer:

In my opinion, confidence is liking yourself. As simple as that may sound, the act of liking ourselves is not always easy. It means appreciating who we are as a person while being humble enough to know that we have strengths and weaknesses. I think low self-worth, however, is focusing only on our flaws and not liking anything about ourselves.

The tricky part is that arrogance is liking ourselves too, but it’s also thinking everyone else should like us. While humility makes us more empathetic to the struggles of others, arrogance makes us more judgemental.

That’s why this quote is so powerful to me, and honestly, I am still meditating on it. As someone who has struggled with low self-esteem, I am always thinking about ways to keep a good balance of confidence and humility.

It makes me think about this series because, in my experience, not being a complainer requires a level of humility. It takes humility to support other people, admit to our own flaws, and accept correction.

I also think of appreciation. When we appreciate something and allow that to show in our actions, we display a form of humility. I believe this makes us more grateful, secure, and less stressed.

If enduring struggle (in whatever form that may be) does not make us more appreciative, then I would predict we will continue to suffer until we have learned whatever lesson life is trying to teach us. Sometimes, by worrying and being anxious, we make situations worse.

Humility helps us surrender the need to control every outcome and strengthen our faith that things will work out as intended.

No Whining Wednesday: Celebrate Yourself

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Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.

If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page here for past episodes.

Today’s inspiring word comes from Michell C. Clark:

I needed to see this quote the other day as I found myself complaining more than usual. Wednesdays have gotten a lot more peaceful for me since I started this series, but I still complain on the other days like the rest of us humans.

The source of my complaint was about the struggle that comes with being a Self-Published author in today’s world. Being an independent artist, in general, is always a challenge. While it’s a challenge I chose to pursue, it does make me sad to struggle for exposure when authors published by traditional publishers release books to citywide book tours and New York Times Best Sellers list. Not to confuse my melancholy at these revelations for a desire to be traditionally published, though I see nothing wrong with it. I am just a woman hoping to make a difference with her work in a way that transcends social media.

“A lot of people won’t celebrate you until your wins feel “big” enough for them.”

I pondered the many ways we do this in society–from rushing out to buy a book recommended by Oprah to not supporting our friends’ “little” business until it becomes a “big” business. There are, sadly, tons of ways we ignore people because it doesn’t seem like what they are doing is a big deal.

“But you can celebrate yourself now. You can be proud of every step you take and every sacrifice you make.”

This is why I post about getting into bookstores and such. It is not to be braggadocious or even make it seem like I am “doing it big,” whatever that means. I do it because I learned years ago the importance of celebrating all wins, not just the ones deemed significant in the eyes of the world.

I have a hope that one day I will not have to count the stores housing my books because they will be everywhere. That vision starts with appreciating where it is now. I know Indie Authors want to be a #1 Amazon Best Seller, but I don’t care much about that. All this online stuff is cool, but I am striving to carve a space out in the real world too.

“And you won’t need other people’s applause to be proud of how far you’ve come.”

This part reminds me of the saying, “you have today what you once prayed for,” or something like that. I don’t remember exactly how it is worded, but it always brings me back. Not only is someone praying for the life you have now, but you once prayed for it too! Isn’t that amazing?

The more we learn to celebrate ourselves, the less discouraged we will be when others don’t see our value, and the less dependent we are on the need to have them acknowledge us.

Today, celebrate yourself. You deserve it even if no one else knows it but you.

PS. I celebrated myself by ordering an expensive Veggie Delight Burger I wouldn’t usually buy but that I had been lusting after for a while. Today, I decided I deserved it. The world will not end if I pay a few extra dollars to eat what I want.

No Whining Wednesday: Be Consistent with Your Boundaries

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Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.

If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page here for past episodes.

If you have not noticed, I come up with these NWW’s based on something that struck me earlier in the week. This week I was struck by the following quote by a poet I follow on Instagram:

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This made me stop and think because it is me or has been me before.

Everyday I am learning to be okay with telling people no.

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This series is called No Whining Wednesday, where we try not to whine, criticize, or complain, but we cannot always control what happens around us. Setting solid boundaries and being consistent with those limits is a great way to protect our peace.

“A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not.”

-Henry Cloud

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By now, everyone who has known me for a significant amount of time knows I don’t celebrate holidays. People are not allowed to wish me a Merry Christmas or Happy Thanksgiving. Telling people, “Oh, no. I don’t celebrate,” when they wish me a happy holiday may seem to be mean at first, but this is how I teach people who I am and how I expect to be treated. It all starts with me. If I waver on what I say I believe or let things slide I once set limits to, it confuses people and opens the door for them to disrespect me in the same way I have disrespected myself.

There are some things I am not highly iffy about. My name is Yecheilyah, but I am not upset with family members who still call me by my birth name. I also have no problem with people wishing me a happy birthday.* But then there are things I am particular about. More importantly, I need to follow my own rules before expecting other people to follow them.

*Many people who believe as I do, don’t celebrate birthdays. I am not one of those people. I acknowledge birthdays, but that’s a conversation for a different day.

It helps us not to complain if we are firm and consistent with our intentions. No matter what happens around me, I will not be negative today, and I won’t allow other people to change my mind. I won’t get upset with the traffic, I won’t curse the Starbucks lady for getting my order wrong, and I won’t huff and puff when the line at the grocery store is too long.

Remember, the challenge is not figuring which boundaries are appropriate to set. The challenge is setting those boundaries consistently. When you set inconsistent boundaries, you make things complicated, and it confuses people.

To be consistent, you have to first be firm. What you have decided not to allow in your space is not a suggestion. It is not an option. For the sake of this conversation, it is law.

What I am not saying:

I am not saying that you are responsible for other people’s reactions or perceptions about your boundaries. Your boundaries can also change as you live and grow. What you believed before might not be the same as what you believe today. People are allowed to change. We are allowed to grow.

I am saying that people will walk all over you if you set boundaries you are too afraid to enforce.

No Whining Wednesday: Gratitude and Faith

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Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.

If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page here for past episodes.

I don’t have much to write to you today, but I want to share this quote with you. I hope it will inspire you as it did me.

Gratitude and faith are such a great balance to me. One requires that we appreciate all we have, and the other challenges us to believe that what we do not yet have is on the way. We can be both content and consistently striving for better at the same time. This contentment does not become complacency, and this striving does not diminish our humility and appreciation for what is.

When waking up with gratitude and laying down with faith, what is there to complain about?

No Whining Wednesday – You Are Inherently Worthy

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Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.

If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page here for past episodes.

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How other people view you is not a measurement of your worthiness. Both online and off, good decision or bad decision, right or wrong, your value does not change.

A Quick Story.

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When I first moved to Georgia in 2017, I enrolled in Argosy University, Atlanta. This was before Covid, so I had on and offline classes. In one of my campus classes, we always did these exercises. In one activity, we were talking about hot personality, cold personality, and warm. We had to say which one we thought we were and why. A few of my classmates mentioned I was cold. This perplexed me because we had not known each other that long. When they said it, most of the class agreed.

I went home feeling down. Their words had seeped into my soul, and I questioned what made them think I was a cold-hearted person. Had I done something to them? Did I offend anyone? Had they heard something about me?

Then, I thought back to my childhood and realized this wasn’t anything new. I remember being told my twin would be a bride for Halloween and that I would be the devil. As a kid, I remembered thinking, “the devil?”

I laugh at it now, but it affected my self-esteem and how I thought of myself back then. This was not the only time, someone had also decided I would be a witch years prior. “A witch?” I remembered thinking. It was weird to me because my sister was some kind of animal. If we are twins, why am I a witch and she’s a cute kitten?

I was always referred to as “the mean twin,” and it affected how I felt about myself.

Going home after that class made me think of all these things, and I questioned if I was a good person.

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What I’ve realized since then is how we tend to tie our self-worth to other people. We look at the way others perceive us, and we measure ourselves up to that image. That person doesn’t like me, so I am not a good person, or that person admires me, so I am a good person. This is especially true in the age of social media. This person I admire didn’t like my post, so I guess it wasn’t a good post, or this person did like it, so I guess it was good.

All of this is a lie.

The same worthiness you have when people think highly of you, or when you are winning and making the right choices, and being the best version of yourself is the same worthiness you still have when people think of you in a negative light, when you make mistakes, or when you are not your best self.

There is one truth, and it is the only truth that matters:

You are inherently worthy.

This worth does not need to be earned or won or acknowledged to exist. You have value and purpose the moment you enter this world. As the scripture says, “before I formed you in your mother’s belly I knew you, and I did set you apart.” (Jer. 1:5)

How other people perceive this set-apartness does not determine if it exists. It is there and was there from the very beginning.