I keep trying. If you are not trying and failing and trying again – you’re not learning anything.
Zhanna Hamilton is an online entrepreneur with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master’s in Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University. She runs multiple niche websites and has written over 65 books in various genres, including business, marketing, English as a second language and self-development. 21 of her books have appeared on the iTunes charts, including a recent audio book, “Rewire Your Brain: 300 Affirmations for Positive Thinking”, which stayed at the number one spot in iTunes: Self-development for over a week. Other books by this author/entrepreneur have appeared on charts in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United States.
Her ESL website, InspiredByEnglish.com, caters to English learners and tutors looking for ESL content. Zhanna has personally tutored English learners from all over the world, including students from South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the Dominican Republic. Her ESL books include idiom and phrasal verb reference guides, English workbooks and a “Learn English with Short Stories” series.
Born in the former Soviet Union, Zhanna was raised in the New Jersey/New York area and currently resides in California. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, learning about astronomy and spending time with her family. Alongside regularly releasing nonfiction books, this multi-genre author is currently working on her first science fiction novel. Updates about her latest books can be found on her website and social media pages.
Where did the idea for InspiredByEnglish.com come from?
I come from an immigrant family, so English learners have always been around me. When I used to lived in New York, I tutored English to foreign students and I fell in love with the idea of helping people learn. Inspired By English is a culmination of all the lessons, common mistakes and best practices I’ve discovered over the years as a private ESL tutor.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Being a multi-genre author and managing niche websites such as Inspired By English can make every day a little different than the last in terms of what kind of content I am working on, but you will typically find me typing away at my laptop. Content creation and audience engagement are top priorities for me. To help with productivity, I keep a to-do list around that outlines the objectives for the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
As every entrepreneur knows, coming up with ideas and executing them are two very different challenges. If I decide to bring a particular idea to life, I make sure to do enough market research beforehand to assess the needs of the audience I am trying to help. In general, your fans and customers tell you what they need or prefer.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The self-publishing trend is a dream-come-true for writers everywhere. It’s the best time to be a writer and to find your audience.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I consider myself a lifelong learner, and this has helped me immensely as an entrepreneur. Keeping an open mind and learning from others definitely makes me a more knowledgeable businesswoman.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
My worst job was at a local pizza place, where it was always too busy and too stuffy behind the counter. I learned the importance of going after your dream career or business after working hard at jobs I hated for many years. All work is going to be difficult and filled with tasks that aren’t very enjoyable. You may as well put all of that effort into your dream job.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have pursued entrepreneurship sooner. It’s not an option that is taught in school, so if you choose that route – find a good mentor or self-educate yourself about the business world.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I keep trying. If you are not trying and failing and trying again – you’re not learning anything. Don’t be afraid to fail – that’s where the most valuable lessons are hiding.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
I listen to people more successful than me. I’ve learned so much from interviews with other more experienced entrepreneurs and have applied their advice to my own work. Keep in mind that everyone’s success story is different, which means there is more than one way of succeeding.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I launched a subscription-based service on Inspired By English, which I had to shut down due to insufficient start-up capital. Because I didn’t have the funds to conduct proper market research and develop the service as I had envisioned, I ended up re-purposing the content and using it for other projects. The information still got out to my audience, just in a different way than I had originally planned.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Three words: Healthy vending machine. Someone please mass produce these so we can all have something healthy to snack on in public places. It’s such a simple concept to have healthy food in vending machines, yet still an almost non-existent feature in our society.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I’m obsessed with space travel. If Richard Branson reads this and needs a volunteer for a space flight – I’ll be ready in less than five minutes. Really.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I’m a huge fan of Evernote for taking notes and organizing my to-do lists. It’s great because your information is kept on a cloud, which allows you to switch devices and still access the same information. I also love Dropbox for its convenience of file-sharing and file storing.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Eventual Millionaire” by Jaime Tardy. I’ve been listening to Jaime’s podcast, Eventual Millionaire, for a while now – and I get inspired with every interview. This book combines all of that knowledge into an action-oriented guide with a wealth of useful information.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Guy Kawasaki: http://guykawasaki.com/
Richard Branson: @richardbranson
Elon Musk: elonmusk.com/
Jaime Tardy: http://eventualmillionaire.com/
Seth Godin: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/
Pat Flynn: http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/
Nicki Minaj: @nickiminaj (even if you are not a fan of hers, research her back story and what she is currently building. Her business mindset is remarkable.)
Zhanna Hamilton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZhannaHamilton
Zhanna Hamilton on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ZhannaHamiltontheWriter
Zhanna Hamilton on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ZhannaHamilton