[quote style=”boxed”]Measure it twice and cut it once and having it done yesterday is my philosophy. Procrastination is not in my vocabulary.[/quote]
Gawri is a writer, author and self-publishing consultant. She was born and raised in Malaysia and is of Indian and Polynesian decent. She was brought up trilingual speaking Tamil, Malay and English. She writes in English because this is the language she is most comfortable with.
She attended law school and obtained her LL.B (Hons) from University of London, England and has a major in English Language. She decided not to pursue a career in law upon immigrated to Canada fifteen years ago, when her husband’s firm transferred him to Ontario.
After a few stints in corporate law she is pursuing her lifelong passion for writing and publishing children’s books and cookbooks through her publishing company Mirwag Inc. She holds readings and workshops at elementary schools. She also holds seminars and workshops on true self-publishing.
She resides in Oakville, Ontario with her husband and their children. She loves to write, read, design, sketch, paint, cook, garden, travel, teach, bike, hike, be creative, and enjoys people and nature.
Her first publication is a children’s story titled Bunica’s Tomatoes published by Mirwag Inc. Bunica’s Tomatoes is about a little girl’s awe, the magic of creation and a family heirloom all coming to life in an amazing tale for children and adults alike.
She started writing as a teenager and has kept up with her dream to self-publish her books.
Where did the idea for being self-publishing consultant come from?
It has always been my dream to see my writing in print. I decided to self-publish after seeing the scams offered by vanity publishers.
A friend of mine was badly burnt by one of these companies.
While I was publishing my book, I assisted others with ISBN and copyright application. So, I decided I could be of service providing self-publishing services to aspiring writers and self-publishers as a self-publishing consultant.
I wrote down a list of services relating to book publication. I incorporated my company, Mirwag Inc. (A little Oprah here) Mirwag is the backwards of my name, Gawri M. I chose Mirwag because all the other names were taken.
Besides selling my books I could offer self-publishing services through my company. This idea snowballed into school readings, workshops, public speakings and blogging.
I came up with the branding and tagline for my company, got my website and before I knew it I was featured in a local hometown magazine.
What does your typical day look like?
Waking up at 6 AM and going to bed at 11 PM. I need my seven hours of sleep.
Writing my next books. I can write faster than I can publish my books.
I write my blog posts – researching what self-publishers would like to read, how I can impart information and help them.
Spending at least two hours on promoting my books and business which is an ongoing process.
Formulating business strategies, conducting research and taking care of “business”.
Between being a cook, maid, chauffeur, wife, mom, French student (I like to learn a new language every now and then) writer,
blogger, twitter and a new entrepreneur, I do find time to watch tv.
(Having been a law student I didn’t have much of a life)
Nowadays, I’m never too busy for anyone or anything.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I must admit my mind in always filled with ideas and creativity. I love to imagine.
It’s all in my mind and I can think and do whatever I want. When I’m thinking of a certain idea, it actually comes to life in my mind.
I can see the colours, the characters, the events and I can picture them like a movie in my mind.
I use the old fashioned pencil and printing paper to quickly jot down the ideas. From there I will look for ways to perfect or act upon them.
I do meticulous research and pretty soon I will have the ideas in a tangible form.
If I have an idea for a promotion, I’d act upon it and then do a write-up on its success.
At a book fair last summer I tried out the “reading chair” idea. I invited readers to sit on the “reading chair” and read my book without any obligation to buy the book.
Every person who read my book in the “reading chair” ended up buying the book.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I was a teenager in the 80’s; I thought music videos were awesome when they first came out. I still love music videos.
I also grew up in an era without the Internet so to be able to to have a huge library at my disposal is divine. I don’t take the Internet for granted.
The current trend I love is to tweet. Keeping it short and simple suits me just fine since I like to get to the point as quickly and in as few words as possible.
Sometimes 140 characters are too many for me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Being decisive, extremely organized and detailed oriented. I pay attention to everything around me and nothing escapes my eyes.
Measure it twice and cut it once and having it done yesterday is my philosophy. Procrastination is not in my vocabulary.
And I’ve been complimented for having a pleasant personality.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked as a cashier at a bank and didn’t like it. The job became repetitive.
I told myself then, that I would follow my passion and somehow make it happen.
I am a creative person and what better way than to be creative in your business.
There’s a difference between a job, a hobby, a career and a passion.
If you can turn your passion into a business, go for it.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would not have gone to law school, instead chosen the path of my passion.
I would have gone to art school and would have published my books, and started my business sooner.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As an entrepreneur you have to be out there promoting yourself continuously.
Don’t be shy or afraid of what others will say when your face or company’s name keeps showing up everywhere.
Be persistent and believe in yourself. You have to take care of your own business.
You have to know how to run your business effectively, constantly learning new things.
In my case it would be accounting and taxes which I struggled to understand.
I have a professional taking care of my taxes, however I made it a point to be in the know.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how dumb you think they may be.
Just go ahead and ask. Don’t assume anything. In the end, you will come out informed and smarter.
You’re in control of your business.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
My business is relatively new. I’ve helped a number of people and my first book was recently self-published.
Believing and being excited in your projects gets others excited too. Speaking positively about my business and my writing attracts attention and word spreads.
Telling the story of how I started my self-publishing process has been popular with many levels of people. In return I’m told that there is a book in the people I spoke to ready to be written.
People are curious and want to know how I did it? Neighbors and friends take pride in telling their friends that they know someone who has a book on Amazon.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Hearing the no word continuously that you become immune to it. It’s not a scary word after you’ve heard it a hundred times in a week. It makes you stronger and more persistent.
I tell myself the worst that can happen is hearing someone say, no. To me the word “NO” is a confidence builder.
Keep trying, and change the no’s to yes’s.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I believe in this approach and do it all the time. It has brought me new clients and goodwill.
Always go above and beyond to help your clients. Give away free products and most importantly information.
I have never felt threatened giving away information because I know what I’m doing and I know people listen to me.
Most businesses are not generous which is a big mistake in their approach especially when starting out.
Even if your business can’t deliver a particular product, tell your clients that you are going to find someone who can do it for them.
Never say no to your clients. Before the question is even asked say, yes, I can do that for you. You’ll find a way.
People are always busy and they forget. So pick up that phone or shoot an e-mail and keep in touch with your clients. Make the first move.
Just ask them how they are. Open a file and write down your client’s name, their children’s name, his/her likes.
At least once a year, just ask them how they are doing?
This is a business investment you can’t do without. The future payback is huge.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I do have an excellent memory. Anything I see or hear I will remember… forever. It’s a curse never to be able to forget. I didn’t understand why people forgot until I was in my late 30’s.
Turns out that my memory is far better than that of the average person. I was tested as a child but didn’t really understand the gravity of an excellent memory.
I’ve gotten into arguments because I was so darn sure the other person said a certain something. I wouldn’t do that now.
Fun stuff: I’ve a collection of acorn from every country I’ve been to in the world. I wear a gold acorn charm on my charm bracelet.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
WordPress as software because it’s free, speedy and SEO friendly.
Host Gator as hosting service because of the price and good service.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I’ve recommended this book on my website. This book is about enriching oneself and discovering our true purpose, meaning and passion in life. The money part comes eventually.
In the future when my business expands, I would expect my employees to read this book.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
In business it’s Napoleon Hill and Robert Kiyosaki. Their teachings opened my mind to endless possibilities.
Writer Beware website has become my mentor when it comes to self-publishing leading unaware people out of the fog who would otherwise be scammed by vanity publishers.
David Gaughran an Irish blogger and writer for always speaking his mind.
Gawri Manecuta on Twitter: @gawriman
Gawri Manecuta on Facebook:
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.