Tell us your bold boss story!
It all started on Twitter (who says social connections can’t be valuable?) one evening. I was going nowhere as a marketing coordinator for a small business while I attempted to write my first novel. I knew the odds of landing a publishing deal were slim—unless I had connections. What could I do? What were my strengths? How could I break into the industry in a different way so that I could start making those connections now?
Marketing. It’s what I knew, what I loved, and what authors needed in order to sell their books, right? I took a hard look at my 9-5 and decided I could better apply my skills in an industry that I wanted to break into. So I hopped on Twitter and looked for author or book related Twitter chats. After participating in one, I emailed an author who was looking for marketing support, and ultimately, became her part-time personal marketing assistant (often referred to as a PA or VA).
I wrote my book, handled some of my author’s marketing tasks, and kept my 9-5, for a time. Then I applied for a book marketing manager position with an interesting out-of-state publisher. My life changed pretty quickly over that year. I quit my 9-5, took on more author clients, worked full-time from home, finished and published my novel with the publisher I worked for (there were those connections I was desperate to find).
My original author became more than a client; she became a close friend and then my business partner. She had big ideas for helping indie authors publish with the same quality that traditional authors publish with, and so we went into business together. PageCurl Publishing and Promotion was born. I handled our marketing side and she handled the publishing side. I continued working for the publisher and for PageCurl. A lot of work would be an understatement. Over the year, I outgrew her. Better put, the marketing side overshadowed the publishing side. What to do now?
I knew I needed to make a bold step. I needed to break out the promotion side of things and turn it into its own entity. What if I failed? Then again, what if I succeeded? I took a chance. As of January 2016, Aurora Publicity was licensed in the state of Michigan and open to author clients around the world. We work with newly published authors up to USA Today and New York Times best-selling authors.
I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my support circle. My former business partner, my best friend who has helped in every way possible from PageCurl to Aurora, and my friends and family who know that I’m not ignoring them if I “go dark” for a few days. It really just means I’m working hard and I’ll re-surface when I can.
That’s it, right? Happily ever after? Not yet.
A few months later (we’re talking April/May of this year) I knew I needed to make another bold step. I’m only one person, with so much time, and clients were pouring in. Soon I would need to stop taking business, but that wasn’t what I wanted to do. So instead I brought on other virtual publicists to offset our amazing growth. These publicists are amazing, let me tell you. We haven’t spent one cent on advertising and have over 25 clients at this time. Word of mouth and reputation means everything in our industry, and it proves that if you work hard for someone, they will reward you with a recommendation. That’s how we’ve gained all of our clients. Every wonderful one of them.
Aurora Publicity is flourishing. Does that mean I haven’t pushed through failures? No, I’ve had my fair share, and there are more to come I’m sure. I’ve also had success and wouldn’t be where I am now without taking those risks. Sure, I work 50-60 hours a week, manage a team of four, have eleven clients of my own, and am attending grad school in the evenings. I’ll have my master’s in management and marketing this year, woo hoo!
The point of this is you have to be ready to work hard. I mean really hard. You know that wall you hit when you’ve worked hard all day? Push through it. Keep going. Success doesn’t just find you, you find it. When you have it, you grip it tight and aim to never let it go. You ride the failures and learn from them, and continue to take those risks. You might even pop on Twitter and go for a random shot in the dark sometime.
Who knows where Aurora Publicity will be in a year. It’s hard to imagine if our growth holds steady. All I do know is this: figure out your dream, make a plan of action, and attack it with everything you have. Just get started.
We're all about bold boss moments, tell us about one of yours!
I think of a bold boss moment as anything that causes you to hesitate because you’re afraid of the risks. When you trample the fear and go forward, that’s your bold boss moment. We should all aim for them because then we’re championing success.
I’ve had several, but here’s my most recent.
At max capacity, I told myself I couldn’t take one more client. Not right now. Then I got a Holy Grail email in which an author said another author I worked with referred her and asked if I was taking any more clients at this time.
I stared at that email on and off for nearly a day. My fingers itched to type, “sorry, but no, I’m not.” I couldn’t do it. This author tops Amazon’s charts regularly and she would be a big boost in reputation for Aurora Publicity. What was more important? The growth of my company, or okay, perhaps my own sanity?
I pushed aside all of the fear and the doubt and I emailed her back to tell her that I was honored to hear from her, and that I would love to personally work with her. To me, that was half of my bold boss moment. The second part comes from knowing my limitations and trusting myself and my abilities. In order to take on an extra set of hours a month, I had to lose hours elsewhere. I did something I’ve never done before. The second part of my bold boss moment was hiring myself a personal assistant so that I could pass her tasks while I worked with my new client. Did it cost money to make money? Yes, but it allowed me to earn the happiness and seal of approval of an important author. One who I hope will recommend me and Aurora Publicity to her friends.
The point? Bold boss moments take guts. They might make you try something new and scary, but think of what you can achieve with them.
What advice or words of encouragement do you have for the Bold Boss Tribe?
Fail often. It's the only way you won't fear failure and you'll learn to take those chances boldly, despite the risks. What's the number one reason you haven't taken a bold step forward? Fear. The fear of failure is paralyzing. Take away its power and you're unstoppable. Success is yours, failure be damned.