How to Be Your Own Boss in Book Publishing

On March 26, 2015, I will be attending and speaking at the Exceptional Women in Publishing (EWIP) conference. If you are in the Bay Area, I hope to see you at this interesting conference for women in media and publishing. I will be joined by two amazing women entrepreneurs, Charlotte Abbott (Content and Media Strategist, Abbott Communications) and Jill Tomich (co-founder of  Slicebooks) We all run companies that specialize in digital marketing, publicity, strategy and content development. Our panel is called: How to Be Your Own Boss in Book Publishing. Lynn Rosen brought us all together, who recently did the bravest thing of all. She opened a bookstore a Elkins Park, Pa.

The topic has me thinking about the pros and cons of being your own boss. When I started FSB, we were the first firm to do digital marketing for publishers and authors. There was so much we did not know. Like most businesses starting out, we had our fair share of challenges. Being the first to do digital publicity took those challenges to a whole new level. Every day was a “figure it out” day (not much has changed there).

As an entrepreneur, you have the luxury of a flexible schedule and the freedom that comes from choosing when you work, or from where you work. You can sit down at home or go to work at your favorite coffee shop or at a beach. If you have an Internet connection, you can work from Belize. Most people would agree that Belize as your office backdrop is a lot more appealing than a cubicle in a corporate office. More perks of entrepreneurship include controlling your bottom line—no one controls your income (work harder, make more money), and no one can fire you. As an entrepreneur, you get to meet and work with amazing people of your choice and invest in your own continual learning. Controlling your days is incredibly valuable, appealing and addictive.

With the good, however, often comes the bad. As an entrepreneur, work never stops. You may have flexibility of time, but you own your business, and that means you never truly feel like you have a day off. There are always people and projects that need your attention. Working on the West Coast with East Coast staff and clients, has its unique set of challenges. As a purpose-driven entrepreneur who often works burns the midnight oil, it took me a long time to give myself permission to unplug. Working at full speed all the time is beyond exhausting. If you are considering being your own boss remember to bring lots and lots of passion to your work. You’ll need it.

Having your own business is awesome. I would recommend it to anyone who has a passion and enthusiasm for their work. Go forth and learn lessons of your own. It is not an easy ride, expect sleepless nights, and be ready to face every fear and every insecurity. But there is nothing better than living an authentic, flexible, brave, scary, passion-filled life. Twenty years later, I can tell you that I've loved owning my own time, having flexibility in my schedule, and learning new things every day. I’ve made my share of big and expensive mistakes, but I’ve never turned back. No regrets.