Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Russell Nohelty, Co-Founder of Writer MBA, located in Long Beach, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Writer MBA is an educational platform that helps authors build better businesses and make more money from alternative income streams like subscriptions, crowdfunding, and direct sales.
Tell us about yourself
I've been a creative entrepreneur for close to 20 years. I ran a production company and made movies when I was younger before moving into writing and publishing both novels and comics. I've run my publishing company, Wannabe Press, since 2014. We just started Writer MBA last year, but I've been teaching authors since 2011 through my podcasts, courses, and books.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
The ability to still be doing this work for 20 years, and full-time for close to a decade, is easily the biggest accomplishment. Running any business requires a great product, but being able to sustain it for years takes the ability to pivot when things don't work and maintain your reputation year after year with high-quality products. I can train almost anyone to make a successful book, but the will to persevere and continue to put out quality products that your audience loves is something that's hard to teach.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
When you've been in business as long as I have, there are so many challenges, but to reiterate what I said above, I think simply existing year after year and putting out exciting products is the hardest part. Every year it feels like there are new challenges and avenues to explore. Staying on top of everything and putting out a quality product over and over again is really tough. You think when you are coming up that once you have something good, you will finally have success, but success is not something you achieve. It's something you earn over and over again in an often exhausting fashion.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be malleable and adaptable. The way you do things during your first year in business will likely not be what you're doing or how you are doing things in your 10th year. We are always looking at new revenue streams and ways to improve our customer's experience. If you can't stay on top of trends and pivot quickly, then you are going to struggle or never get off the ground.
- Have a home base. That said, you also need to have things that work in your business no matter what. We can always rely on Kickstarter and our mailing list. We try a lot of different things, but we know that whenever we need to make money, we can rely on those things to help get us an infusion of cash.
- Learn marketing and sales. Creatives seem particularly opposed to learning marketing and sales, but if you learn those skills, they will save you over and over again. They allow you to be more creative and build a more stable business. They allow you to love your business more and support your customers better. Understanding why somebody buys and how to get them to buy again is the whole game. There is nothing else besides the relationship between the customer and the product. Everything else serves that relationship.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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