[quote style=”boxed”] If I can’t envision what goals I want to achieve I will never know how to go about making them a reality.[/quote]
Andrea Bouchaud is an e-book author, writer and blogger on the experience of studying abroad and immersion into the French language and culture as an American student. Ever since her first day of French class at 13 years old, Andrea knew she wanted to live in France some day. The opportunity came when she was twenty years old and studied abroad in Paris for a year at the Université de Paris-Sorbonne, Paris IV.
Not only did studying abroad fulfill an almost lifelong dream, it also gave her the chance to discover her French heritage. As the granddaughter of a Frenchman who gave up his language and culture to become American, Andrea always wondered what it meant to be French besides having a last name that no one could spell or pronounce. Living and studying in Paris gave her the opportunity to connect with her French roots and improve her linguistic skills. In 2009, Andrea graduated from Rutgers with a Bachelors degree in French. In August 2013, she published Twenty in Paris: A Young American Perspective of Studying Abroad in Paris with Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon.
Where did the idea for “Twenty in Paris” come from?
The idea to write Twenty in Paris: A Young American Perspective of Studying Abroad in Paris came from all the easily avoided struggles and mishaps that I and other students had during our time studying abroad. I felt as though I was the only person having a difficult transition into a new language, culture and college experience until I spoke with other students who expressed similar difficulties. I then realized I was not the odd woman out and that there are many aspects of the study abroad experience students are not prepared for. Knowledge is the key to a successful and less stressful study abroad experience.
What does your typical day look like?
I like to wake up around 5am and be active on Twitter, Facebook, and check emails. My prime writing time is 10 am- 2 pm. When I need a break from writing, I check emails. Before and after dinner, I like to be back online updating my blogs and commenting on other blogs that I follow. Then it’s time for bed and the whole process to start over again in the morning.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Keep a list of topics on hand. I have a notebook as well as a Word document of topics and ideas to write about to give me material for the next few months for blog posts and articles. I also get inspired with new ideas and topics by speaking with French friends and colleagues and reflecting back on my time in Paris.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
That more and more college students are studying abroad. Only 1-2% of all American college students study abroad which is a really small number, however, recent research is showing a growing interest in studying abroad. There are so many benefits to studying abroad like increased salary, more likely to get a job in the 1st year post graduation and better grades- it’s great that more students are understanding the importance of this experience on their career and personal lives.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Dreaming. If I can’t envision what goals I want to achieve I will never know how to go about making them a reality.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked for an insurance company for 3 years right after college. It was extremely stressful and I dealt with people at their worst. However, I learned so much from that job in regards to how insurance works, how having a schedule and chipping away little by little will get you back on top of things and help you stay there, that you can’t always know what life is going to send your way but you can be prepared for it, and that screaming and cursing is never the way to express your frustration and anger.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would start book promotion and publicity months prior to publication. I was so concerned with publishing my book that I did not consider pre-publication book promotion. It is much easier to generate interest and get pre-launch reviews prior to publication than after the fact.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Change up your game plan. We live in an ever-changing world which means in order to succeed you have to be able to change with the times. Every few weeks, I sit down and evaluate my game plan and strategy to see what’s working and what’s not. If something isn’t working, I brainstorm and research other ways to achieve my goals.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Research- it can you help you create realistic and practical marketing/publicity strategies, find and connect with your target audience, help you find the companies/ organizations and people in your field/ topic of interest to reach out to and network with.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Marketing. It’s constantly changing and can be difficult to stay on top of. I don’t know if I’d say it’s a failure or that I overcame it. It’s a continual work in progress.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I had one idea but it was already taken. It was to create a saline based implant to use in place of a bone implant for spinal fusion surgeries. I handled many cases involving these surgeries when I worked for the insurance company and know all too well that they ultimately fail and weaken surrounding discs in the spine.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I am a big Star Trek fan. My favorite series are the Original Series and Deep Space Nine.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
My husband aka personal website designer and graphic artist is a big fan of Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Godaddy to design the website, book cover, logo and all visual advertisements and representations of the Twenty in Paris brand. I’m happy with WordPress which is what I use for my blog on the official website as it is user-friendly, I’m able to preview before I post, I can track traffic and people can post comments.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Good question! I feel like I should say something obvious like Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People but I’ve never read it. Whatever inspires and motivates you is the best book to read even if has nothing to do with your expertise.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I hope I don’t have a limit! There are numerous online outlines that influence me in regards to overall marketing, promotion, the subject of study abroad and French language. Here are my current and top favorites:
Comme Une Française
The Abroad Guide
Students Gone Global
The College Tourist
Twenty in Paris on Tumblr:
Twenty in Paris on Facebook:
Twenty in Paris on Twitter: @TwentyinParis
Andrea Bouchaud on StudentUniversity:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.