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I wasn’t one of those people who knew what I wanted to do my whole life. I went to college and majored in sociology, and minored in English at UC Berkeley, because those were the classes that I was drawn to. But I was talked into going to graduate school in architecture to please my parents, and do something professional that sounded creative to me, but it wasn’t. I quit after two years to everyone’s horror, but I was having panic attacks and I was beside myself. It took a lot of courage and therapy to do it, but it was the best decision of my life.
I had always written poems and journals, and my therapist asked me one day, if I had ever considered songwriting. The answer was definitely not. I worked in publicity at the Ice House, a famous comedy club in Pasadena, California and as an editor for trade magazines, but songwriting, no, that was way too artsy for me; I came from a professional family and that’s what was expected of me. But I gave it a try, and found I loved it. I was so passionate that I wanted to learn everything I could. I honed my craft for 11 years, winning the Grand Prize for pop lyric writing in the Music City Song Festival, beating out 30,000 songwriters and eventually getting a Grammy nomination.
But it was a struggle, I made about $1,000 from that first Music City Song Festival win, and it was very frustrating. I came so close to the big time so many times but it never happened. I’ll never forget the time an A&R guy, that’s someone whose equivalent to a publisher but for music, left a message on my machine on a Friday evening. He said, “I’m about to change your life.” They were going to cut my song, and make it the single. The next Monday he was fired, gone, and it was over. And that’s just one of so many stories I could tell you, but I won’t. It would take too long.
But my parents believed in me, and at one point they invited me and my husband to build a world class recording studio in the house that I grew up in. After thinking about it quite a bit, we decided to go ahead and do it. And we had a blast, we worked with top talent songwriters like Essra Mohawk, who wrote Time After Time for Cyndi Lauper. David Young from Air Supply. Terry Steele, who wrote Here and Now for Luther Vandross and amazing musicians like Kimo Cornwell from Hiroshima. But then, the Northridge earthquake hit, and our house was badly damaged.
To make matters worse, my parents both passed away within 11 months of each other before the damage could be fixed. So, we not only lost my parents, and the house, but our livelihood too, which was really scary. I had not held a real job at that point for about 20 years, and I had never made more than $5 an hour when I did. Though as I said, working as a copy editor, and also a layout person, and then as a publicist. And I didn’t know how we were going to survive. We got the insurance money, but it wasn’t enough to cover expenses that were still outstanding from the estate, and the only equity was in the house.
So, we fixed the house; my architecture came in handy. And we sold it, which gave us a cushion. Then, we moved from Los Angeles, where I was born and raised and had always lived, except for college, down to San Diego because we had spent a lot of time here (we live in San Diego now), and it was familiar, and yet far enough away that it felt like a new beginning.
Our thought at the time was that I would continue in the music business, and my husband who was now an audio engineer, but also a trained hypnotherapist, would go back to working as one. But it didn’t work out. It seemed like there were more hypnotherapists than potential clients in the area. Clearly, we did not understand Internet marketing in those days. And the music community was mostly amateurs; they just didn’t get it, so I would bring down like great talented A&R people from L.A., and it just fell on deaf ears.
So, we asked ourselves how we could make money going forward, and a logical answer was to buy, fix, and sell houses and condos, since we had done that with my parent’s house and made a lot of money (about 3/4 of a million dollars). So, we went to school on it and learned how to buy the properties. We bought three properties within a couple of years, and for the first time in my life, made really serious money, but we were still scared about our future. What would we do if and when we couldn’t get financing? What would happen when the market topped out?
So, I decided it was time to buckle down, take a skill that I had, and start my first company, which was Pen and Punctuation, so I would always have a way to earn a living. I started writing brochures, website copy, and whatever else I could write for my clients, and I joined some business clubs and started networking. But, it didn’t take long before I grew disillusioned with it, because when you write copy you trade time for money, so there’s a ceiling on how much money you can make. Plus, I found that business owners who didn’t understand sales copy wanted to fall in love with the copy whether it had sold or not, and that usually meant that they wanted the copy to be about them, instead of how it would benefit their clients or customers, and I couldn’t in good faith write copy that way.
The final straw came when I redesigned a website for a client, and a few months later when I went back to document it, it was gone. The owner had gone back to his original copy, which was all about him. I was frustrated, angry, and honestly, a little hurt; and it became crystal clear that this was not going to work out long term, so I asked myself, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” And the answer that came up was that I wanted to write books. But I wondered, “Was I good enough? Was I too old?” I was about fifty at the time. Could I pull it off?
So, I got online and I stumbled onto a New York Times Best Selling Author, who was offering to critique your work and help you get published. So, I set up an appointment. What he did was he had me gather some samples of my writing, and send them to him, and then we hopped on a call. He looked them over and told me that he thought my writing was excellent, and that I should start out sending pieces on spec. Well, that was the last thing on earth I wanted to do. I had been sending out songs that way for years, and I was done. I had endured so many years of rejection, after rejection, after rejection, and it was heartbreaking.
And then to finally getting a yes, and have it all fall apart more than once, I was not going to do that. Instead, I got online, and I started to look for other opportunities that were out there, and that’s when I stumbled onto eBooks. I will never forget how excited I got when I realized that I could write them, and nobody could tell me that I couldn’t. There were no gatekeepers, no bosses telling me that they weren’t going to publish it, or that I couldn’t do it. I could get directly to my audience, and I didn’t have to endure any rejection from publishers. I didn’t want to do book proposals, I did not want to go down that road.
I was ecstatic. I remember running through the house, yelling to my husband, “I found it. I found it. I found what I want to do. I want to write E-books.” So, I set out to learn everything I could about writing them, and in those days E-books and books were seen as different. Today, we just do one manuscript and format it in the different formats. But there wasn’t much out there at the time. I bought a book on how to write E-books, and I found an email course, and that was about it.
So, I bought the book and I started writing. I was really excited, but then I hit some bumps in the road. I kept going, but then I got to the end of the book, and saw that the marketing section was all of three pages long, and I was panicked. I remember it also took a really long to write it, and it was a boring book for me to write because it was about moving. It was the Moving Cure: How to Organize Your Move to Save Time, Money, and Your Sanity, which is what it was called at the time. And I wrote it because that’s what I knew, and you should write what you know-that was one of the things that people tell you.
When I saw that it was taking so long, and I was so bored doing it, I wanted to quit. But at that point, I had looked around for an E-book coach, and at that time there was this seminar called the Big Seminar, which we were planning to attend. And so I decided that I was going to find out who knew of one at that conference. But when I got there, and figured out that there weren’t any- none existed-I was shocked. So, I hired a regular coach. A well-known, well-respected coach with impeccable credentials, but he didn’t have an E-book-success system. So. I would make a mistake, run it by him, and then he would tell me what I did wrong; it was expensive, and time consuming. And because it was taking so long and it was so tedious, I was tearing my hair out, and that’s when I decided that there was a better way, and I was going to figure it out, and that’s what I did.
The first thing I had to do was finish the book because I knew that I couldn’t teach other people to write if I couldn’t even finish this book, so I did. And then I took all the knowledge that I had acquired in the process and created my own E-book writing course. That was the first one in the entire world.
I taught it online as workshop. In those days, it was called the Quick Start Three Day E-Book Authoring Workshop, and that was in 2004. And then, I created my E-book Profit Secrets Marketing Workshop because that’s what people said they wanted next, and that has since been replaced with other programs. But I made $13,000 in my first six weeks, and I couldn’t believe it. It was totally empowering. I was so excited. I was helping people. I was getting paid well to do it. I was meeting amazing people, and finally feeling like I was making a big impact on the world, and nobody could stop me.
Now, I’ve taught hundreds of people personally, and thousands more around the world, not only how to create E-books, and books, but also how to make them number one bestsellers and also how to turn that best seller into a long term high-end successful business. And we also have done-for-you services, but it’s really exciting because through my books, my articles, and videos, and programs, and more recently through my podcasts, helping entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, speakers, and independent professionals discover how they can also do this and gain creative and financial control over their lives, and their work, and make a big impact. It’s just awesome. I love what I do.
I’ve been doing it for almost 15 years, and I cannot imagine doing anything else. But I’ll tell you, there was a time when I was so panicked, when nothing was working, and all I can tell you is that you have to keep following your passion, and you have to listen to your intuition, and just keep moving. And when you hit a brick wall, or something is not working, you just change directions.
But the one thing that always helped me… when I would get to the point where I’d feel like I just wanted to quit, because believe me every entrepreneur has those days, I would say, “Well if I weren’t doing this. What else would I do?” And it always came back to, “There’s nothing else I want to do.” So, that’s when I knew I just had to sort of change course of tactics and strategies, but not my core idea of what I was doing.
That’s my story and it’s been quite a journey, but I’m really excited, and I’m really glad you’re here. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a bestselling author and building a high-income business, be sure to get a copy of my Book-Writing Blueprint at the top of this page and go to www.BooksBusinessAbundance.com to learn more.