Lauren Eckhardt is an award-winning and best-selling author, ghostwriter, book coach and the CEO of Burning Soul Press, a book coaching and publishing company that helps soul-driven writers share their inspiring and empowering stories with the world. Using her exclusive Soul Writer framework, she focuses on authors’ unique story and voice, transformative message, and soulful passion to help them achieve true fulfillment through their life’s purpose.
Where did the idea for Burning Soul Press come from?
Burning Soul Press stems from my first collection of essays I wrote when I was nine years old. The essays were my interpretation and feelings about big life topics like divorce, abuse, racism, and more. I had this very clear visual when I was writing them: There was a person trapped inside a glass box, pounding on the walls and screaming for help as people walked by the box, ignoring the person inside. All this person wanted was to be seen and heard for who they truly are, to be appreciated for their ideas, perspective, thoughts, and feelings. I called that collection One Burning Soul. That visual stuck with me throughout the years and as my own personal mission continued to evolve and shape. So, when I launched a book coaching and publishing company to encourage and support writers to share their stories with the world, it only made sense to call it Burning Soul Press, which is truly reflective of my heart and soul that I pour into this every single day.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I have two young children with me throughout the day so it makes it challenging to stick to a specific schedule, but I try to have most appointments scheduled in the mornings when the kids are a bit more willing to play together on their own. Every day, I pick three things that I must accomplish no matter what and focus on those first. That gives me room to continue to make progress on the rest of my list throughout the day and still end it feeling productive regardless of the interruptions that occur or the tiny fires that erupt.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Action is the only way to do it. Even when the idea is still a bit hazy in my mind, I try to force it out through my mouth and share it with my team. As I speak it out loud and work through it, life is breathed into it. Multiple brains are better than one so as my team hears it, they include their spin on it and slowly, with everyone’s input, it becomes a tangible vision in front of us. Then we take steps to make it real, either by researching or jumping right in. Action brings clarity to ideas every single time.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m loving the Clubhouse trend because it’s taking connections between people worldwide deeper than just posts and comments. People are having real conversations while getting to know each other and learning about what makes everyone tick. It truly makes the exchange of everyone’s experience, knowledge, strengths and talents easier for those who need it the most.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Focusing on moving the needle ahead one step at a time instead of consuming the entire pie all at once. This is something that I admittedly struggle with because I like to devour what I can. But when I focus on the chunks in the order that they come instead of only moving on the ones that excite me and that’s it, it helps me complete projects faster and not feel like I have a million irons in the fire.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Own yourself. Own your dreams. Own your quirks. Own your strengths. I wish I didn’t try so hard to fit in the boxes I thought I should fill through most of life, whether boxes determined by schooling, socially, or by the corporate world. Many times I felt awkward, but I wished I realized it wasn’t because I was awkward, but because those boxes are awkward. Many systems early in life try to contain you to a heightened sense of average instead of allowing you to embrace your strengths and talents and soar in the unique areas you were meant to rise in. A part of me always knew that, but it takes the independence in who you are regardless of the circumstances around you to fully embrace it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Multitasking isn’t the answer. It’s funny how much multitasking is celebrated, but I’m realizing how detrimental it can actually be when you consider the energy that’s wasted trying to focus on multiple actions at once instead of fully focusing on one thing at a time. When I spend my days caught in the multitasking cycle, I’m quickly spent by the end of it. However, if I pour my focus into one task, then the next, I have a lot more energy reserved when the day is finished.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be completely transparent with my team about my thoughts, my goals, my challenges, my mistakes, my wins. I don’t hold anything back from them because I want them to see everything and feel as though this company is as much theirs as it is mine. I want their input, experiences, and perspective to guide our direction as much as I would want a mentor’s to be involved. They can only have valuable input if they have full transparency at all times and we can learn from everyone’s errs and successes.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The primary strategy I’ve implemented since day one is simple: take one risk at a time and measure the success or failure of it. I encourage the rest of my team to take risks too, and I truly believe it’s part of why we’ve grown so quickly. Without measured risks, we can’t see the full vision of what may exist or test how far our reach can actually extend. Even if logic is saying it’s not the time for “xyz,” if it feels like it’s time, we do it. If we fail, we bounce back and do it better next time and grow from the lesson learned. If we succeed, we grow in business. Risks allow you to grow regardless if you fail or succeed, and that is what I value above all else.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the beginning, I signed up for way too many trainings from entrepreneurs who I admired and respected and became instantly overwhelmed with the ideas and the “can dos.” It’s easy to end up drowning in all of that, getting spread too thin, and feel like nothing is getting done. I thought I was going about learning things the right way, but what ended up happening instead was little room leftover for creative inspiration and clear action on what I should do for my own vision, instead of trying to mirror what other people have done to be successful. Now I just consume it in bits and pieces and I’m very intentional in what I need when I pick what it is because the learning never stops.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m not sure if this already exists, but I love the idea of an Entrepreneur Exchange Network. It can be hard to start up and have the funds (if you’re not seeking funding) for the basics of what you need. For me, I went into $20k debt when I first started simply because I didn’t want to wait for launching my idea, so I went all in, trusting it would pay off (and thank God it did within months). It’s not something I’d recommend everyone doing and during that time, I regularly thought about a network of trusted, vetted, verified entrepreneurs who are willing to exchange a specific product or service for something that they need in return to start or scale their company. It’s part of my ideal world anyway- one in which everyone recognizes their strengths and talents and are able to share that with everyone else in a fair exchange. Having a supporting network of like-minded people to get that from would help many entrepreneurs start out on the right foot.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Books and bath bombs because they’re a reminder to prioritize self-care multiple times a week. I’ve learned to look at those “breaks” as recharging and not relaxing, which helps my ambitious mind accept and schedule them more.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Clickup is my favorite tool because it helps me and my entire team stay on track. I use it to keep track of my personal-to-do list as well, but my favorite part is the professional custom templates that my team can share as clients are working through the pipeline from writing to publishing. It helps us stay organized and set clear dates for when things are due.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Chillpreneur: How to Run a Wildly Successful Business Without Losing Your Mind by Denise Duffield-Thomas. It is such a great reminder about how to live the life you want and weave work into it instead of letting work dominate your time and days. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I go back and flip through this book and remember the importance of stepping back and focusing on what’s truly the most important, allowing passion over obligation to win out.
What is your favorite quote?
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin
- Bring your full, authentic self to your work and ask the same of your team. The collaboration of minds with one joint purpose will advance your business further than you ever thought possible.
- Choose prioritization and focus over multitasking – your energy and output will skyrocket, and you’ll feel more productive than ever.
- Trust in two things: yourself and failure. Your intuition and experiences are more valuable than any short online training or article list of do’s and don’ts. Your failures will always teach you how to be a better businessperson, entrepreneur, or leader going forward.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.