Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Matt Holmes, Founder of Matthew J Holmes, located in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I help self-published authors to reach more readers and sell more of their books through strategic advertising, namely, Facebook ads and Amazon ads. But it goes deeper than that... Any form of advertising is just there to bring awareness and visibility to books and drive traffic to them your book needs to sell your book.
So, I help authors craft a 'product' (i.e., a book product page) that has the best possible chance of converting potential readers into paying readers. I achieve this through
- My free daily email newsletter, 'The Morning ACOS' (currently, 1,900 authors receive these)
- My online courses, 'Jumpstart Amazon Ads for Authors and 'Jumpstart Facebook Ads for authors
- My free email course, '7 Days To Author Ads Success.'
- Articles I write for blogs within the self-publishing space
- As well as events, summits, webinars, etc., that I speak at
Tell us about yourself
I first got started in the world of self-publishing when my wife published her first book, a fantasy series called "The Ancestors Saga." I have worked for myself and run my own business for several years now (in a different niche), but I have always had a fascination for marketing and advertising. When COVID-19 hit the UK in April 2020, my previous business (a video production company) collapsed, and with two babies (twin boys) due in June of 2020, I knew I had to do something and fast. So, I put all my focus into launching my wife's books, and we haven't looked back since. In the first month of the books being published, we earned just over $100 in royalties.
In October 2022, with five books published, we're earning over $15,000 per month in Royalties. That's a big jump in income and an achievement both my wife and I are very proud of. It's been a real team effort. I wrote an article in the summer of 2021 for a big blog in the self-publishing space about my Facebook ads strategy. This article was a huge success, helped lots of authors, and my business was launched. I was approached by many authors who read this article to either manage their ads for them or to work with them one-on-one on a consulting basis. So, I started off by doing consulting work and ads Management, working with 50+ authors in the space of about 14 months.
During this time, I was asked by many authors on my email list to build some online courses about advertising books. So, that's what I did, and the education side of my business was born! Recently, though, with baby number 3 arriving in the family, my work was consuming too much of my time, and I had to make the decision to either continue working long hours and missing out on my children growing up or stop the ads Management work, reduce my hours, and focus on the education side of my business. The answer to this was clear. I had to stop the ads management work and focus on reducing my hours so I could be there to see my children grow up. I still have great relationships with my previous clients, and they all understood why I made the decision, so we left on really good terms.
I now have two online courses available as well as a new product (that has once again come from feedback from my audience) that I will be bringing to market within the next 2-4 weeks. My daily email newsletter, The Morning ACOS, is currently read by over 1,900 authors, which is just mind-blowing to me, considering I just started this little business less than 18 months ago. What motivates me to do what I do each day is both helping authors achieve their dreams, as we have achieved for my wife in becoming a full-time author, and knowing that what I do enables my wife and me to spend time together as a family every single day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
For me, my biggest accomplishment is earning enough money for both my wife and me to work from home, to have the flexibility to work when we want, and to spend time with our children every single day, and not miss them growing up.
Aside from this, though, it's seeing the daily emails and testimonials come in that show what I do each day is having such a big impact on the authors I am helping with my free and paid content.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, it's separating work life and personal life. Working from home with three babies (all under 3) is challenging, and it's so easy to just answer that email, write that Tweet, or do that thing when the office is in your home. It's also the fact that when your business is your income, personally, I find it difficult to switch off. I'm always thinking about ways to improve it, new ideas I can implement, etc.
There's always something you can do, but you also need to live a life outside of your business. My wife is very good about reminding me of this, and I've now reduced the time I spend on my business to around 4-6 hours per day. I split this time up across the day though I like to put in at least 1 hour of work from 6-7 am before the family wakes up, then I'll do a few focused sessions of work either in the morning and/or the afternoon.
Any more than 4-6 hours per day, and I just don't produce as effective and high-quality work as I could. Also, finding a schedule that I can stick to is difficult for me the spontaneity of kids makes it challenging to find a set routine—things crop up, babies get sick, and we have to change plans on the spot. This is just life, but I personally find it very difficult to adapt my schedule when something crops up because I like to plan out my work for the day and the night before.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Just start. Don't try and get everything perfect before you launch your product or service. It's never going to be perfect and will constantly evolve.
- Listen to your audience/market. The products and services I've launched have all come out of feedback from my audience.
- Don't create another "job" for yourself. It's all too easy to be consumed by your business, particularly in the beginning when it's all new and exciting. But if you let your business consume you, it will start to become a burden, and you won't enjoy it like you once did. So, set your hours and stick to them. Clearly, there will be phases you'll need to go through that will require additional hours, but as long as you're aware of that, you can make it work.
- A bonus one here... Always come back to your "why." Why are you running this business? What was your reason for starting it? More time freedom, more money freedom, spend time with your family, travel, leave your 9-5? If you stray too far from your why you'll forget what it is.
Where can people find you and your business?
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