With self-publishing becoming easier, more and more entrepreneurs are able to reap the rewards of writing about their business. Putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – can instantly give you credibility, position you as an expert in your field and draw attention to your company.
Three entrepreneurs share how writing a book changed their business:
1. Find your focus. Personal organizer Julie Starr Hook, owner of Five Starr Organizing and Design, says writing her book “From Frazzled to Freedom” provided the unexpected benefit of helping her find the focus of her business. “Writing my book forced me to look at my strengths and weaknesses,” she says.
While writing about residential organizing of kitchens, bathrooms and offices came easy to Hook, she discovered she was much less comfortable with digital organizing.
“I recognized while writing this book that I don’t have to specialize in every area,” she says.
2. Give birth to a new business. David Niu, founder of TINYpulse, was a serial entrepreneur who decided to take a break from work to recharge and bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand for himself, his wife and then-10-month-old daughter. While travelling, he decided to interview entrepreneurs and CEOs about their best practices for managing people as he felt this was the area that caused his burnout. He kept a blog of all of the interviews, which later became a book “Careercation.”
At the end of each interview, he asked a question: “What’s one pain point you have when it comes to managing people that if I took away you’d gladly pay for.” The answer was most often “when employees give two weeks’ notice out of the blue.” This became the birth of a new business – TINYpulse – a way for leaders to get a pulse on how happy, frustrated or burnt out their employees are so they can spark dialogue for positive change before the two weeks’ notice letters fly across managers’ desks.
3. Introduce your business to the public. When Lori Matzke, home-staging expert and owner of Center Stage Home, wrote her book “Home Staging: Creating Buyer-Friendly Rooms to Sell Your House” in 2004, the industry was small and unpopular. “When I solicited real estate agents, very few thought they needed the service because they didn’t really understand it,” she says.
The process of writing forced her to explain staging concepts in ways everyone could understand, something which she hadn’t previously done with clients and may have been standing in her way of making a sale. “It made me realize that if I could explain it [to clients in person], the staging concepts I was implementing would make much more sense to my clients and they would be far more apt to take my advice,” she says.
4. Gain clients. Niu’s book has become a central part of TINYpulse’s marketing plan. He frequently sends out the book to prospective clients, highlighting a few passages about individuals who faced similar struggles to those the client has identified. “The book has been a great complement to what we do on a day-to-day basis,” says Niu.
5. Improve your personal credibility. “There’s something magical about saying you’re the author of a book,” says Niu. Attaching the title “author” to his bio has opened opportunities for speaking engagements that have helped him promote his business.
Matzke became a sought-after expert in home staging since writing her book and has made various TV appearances to speak about the topic.
Hook also credits her book with providing an opportunity for media exposure. She now appears as a regular guest on a popular morning show in her hometown, Portland, Ore., and says being an author has caused people to look to her as an expert.
“Not only do I have experience organizing people’s homes but [through writing the book] I’ve done a lot of research on the best ways to organize which helps set me apart from other professional organizers in the area,” she says.