The SBA defines a small business as an enterprise having fewer than 500 employees. There are almost 28 million small businesses in the US and over 22 million are self-employed with no additional payroll or employees (these are called non-employers).
Did you know that by publishing your book, you are starting a small business as an author? It seems strange to many authors, but the changes in the publishing industry has made it both easier and harder to become a professional author- also called an authorpreneur. When starting a new business, it's important to know the current state of small business affairs and get a little help along the way.
The journey into authorpreneurship can seem daunting, but here are a few facts about starting a business that may help you along the way:
1. Every book is a product-based business. Authors have recently begun to fully accept this fact as studies show the most successful authors to be the ones who approach their career in this manner. Viewing your book as a product should not take away from creativity, rather the added focus on readers as a customer should drive authors towards excellence. As with any product, quality, uniqueness, and its ability to tap into its customer base are key considerations for the business owner, author, to consider. So keep this in mind as you brainstorm ideas for your next book!
2. New businesses have an increased likelihood of success with a business plan. While a Book Business Plan™ contains several unique elements, it is no less important to an author than a regular business plan is to other entrepreneurs. Even the SBA notes on its website: "The importance of a comprehensive, thoughtful business plan cannot be over-emphasized."
To make it more official, data from the Panal Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics, a national generalizable survey of more than 800 people in the process of starting businesses, found that writing a plan greatly increased the chances that a person would actually go into business. Aspiring entrepreneurs were found to be two and a half times more likely to get into business when they created a plan, than without one.
So authors, take a beat to think about your overall plan for your book. What is your mission? Who is your target audience? What is your publication timeline? For help creating a Book Business Plan™ visit me online at www.brandyourexpertisewithabook.com
3. It takes just 6 days to start a business in the US. Starting a new business isn't the hardest part of becoming an authorpreneur. As a matter of fact, starting a business in the United States by registering and paying any related fields is easier than ever these days. Most non-employer small businesses also report taxes as disregarded entities, meaning that you don't have to create some fancy new form jut fir your business. Keep your business spending separate, track your receipts and all will be right in the world. Even better, you'll be able to recoup some of your losses should your book not do as well as hoped/
4. Most small businesses fail for one or more of five basic reasons: lack of experience, insufficient capital, poor inventory management, personal use of business funds, low sales. While this may seem like a daunting fact, the truth is that knowledge is power. In the publishing industry there are many who profess a strict DIY ideology, and while that may work for some it definitely does not work for all. Remember:
• It's okay if you are not the expert. Recognize your limitations and seek an experienced coach or professional to assist. It will help you avoid a preventable fail.
• Find a fulfillment center, preferably with a distributor. In keeping with the DIY mentality, many self-published authors are running to the post office and playing CEO, CFO, Marketing Manager, Publicist, Shipping Coordinator, Sales Lead... the list goes on and on. Just stop! Again, find a professional, ship them your books and email the orders. Make sure the pricing is reasonable and maybe find one with additional perks like an onsite sales team, but in the end you have to back off so you can see and manage your inventory better.
• Keep your business earnings separate! Pay yourself a royalty if you can, but in the end as with any business it take reinvestment to grow and succeed. Set up your business account and do not use the money for personal reasons.
5. Customer relationships are key to success. You know this, right? The most successful of any businesses have great customer relationships and add value to their customers lives. How you treat reviewers, readers, book clubs etc. will always play a factor in your success as an author. Be gracious, say thank you, and for goodness sake do NOT rant on Facebook about your readers. Just like musical artists always thank their fans and go out of their way to sign autographs when they don't really want to, so must you be gracious to your readers- even the ones that hate you.
6. More Americans are becoming self-employed as freelancers, contractors, or owners of microbusinesses. For authors, this means there are options for the services you need. Gone are the days of big house, big bucks running everything. With so many other small business professionals available there is no shortage of help at varying rates to meet your needs and your budget. Take a moment to find the right fit instead of jumping directly into DIY when you are (let's be honest) no good at certain things, and instead of assuming that only the large companies can help you. There is more available.
7. 70% of U.S. households use the Internet when shopping for local products and services. If you've never read Three Reasons Why You Can't Publish Your Book without Social Media, then I suggest you check it out. People are looking for your books online! No matter who your customer base is, there is a site or service online that they tune into and use for making decisions. Take advantage of the market research other companies have done to gain the attention on your target audience and get out there.
8. 88% of small business owners serve as their own main marketers for their businesses. This is an important fact because there are some authors who think they can hang up their marketing hats completely on the head of a third party. While getting help with your marketing is ideal, the truth is that no matter what YOU are the best marketing tool for your company. Own that! Get out there, talk about your book, your passion, your mission, and your upcoming work. Every other small business professional does it too.
Becoming an authorpreneur is not as difficult as you think! Successful authorpreneurs come in all different models, so the trick is to create the business model that works for you. As you work your plan just remember that it is a "living, breathing" document. It should be flexible enough to change and adjust as needed.
Rochelle Carter is the Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, an award-winning publishing company with three imprints. She is also the award-winning author of The 7-Step Guide To Authorpreneurship, an international bestseller that has been widely endorsed by other bestselling authors and industry professionals.
Introducing The Book Business Plan: Discover How to Effortlessly Create Bestselling Books, Build Your Authority, & Start Living The Life of a PUBLISHED Author. Join Now: www.brandyourexpertisewithabook.com
Ready to get your book started? Rochelle’s award-winning team provides complete care book packaging services. From ghostwriting and editing, to printing and book marketing, we've got you covered. Become a bestselling author today, Apply Now for a Free Consultation at http://j.mp/SelfPublish2015