[quote style=”boxed”]I’m always promoting whenever I have the chance. I carry business cards in my wallet and copies of my memoir in my car. I ask people for suggestions on where I might speak or promote.[/quote]
Lee Gale Gruen (“Lee Gale” is her first name) has lived in Los Angeles, California since childhood. She has 2 children and 3 grandchildren. She graduated college from UCLA and had a 37-year career as a Probation Officer. After retiring at age 60, just for fun she started attending an acting class for seniors. A few weeks later her mother died, and she invited her grieving, 85-year-old father to come to the class with her. They attended that class for 3 years. Lee Gale wrote the comedy scenes they performed twice a year onstage in the class showcases. The father/daughter team became a popular item with their adoring audiences. Lee Gale eventually transitioned into the world of professional acting. As her fledgling, second career started going uphill, her dad’s health started going downhill. Lee Gale would recount to him each of her new experiences while she sat beside his bed at the nursing home where he resided in his final years.
Lee Gale then wrote a poignant, heartwarming memoir about it entitled: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Included in the book are all 6 scenes along with her motivation and the process of writing them, rehearsing them and gathering the props. Since becoming a professional actress, Lee Gale has appeared in television, films, videos, commercials, theater, and print. She performs regularly portraying patients at UCLA Medical School as part of student training. She was one of 6 supporting exercise/dancers in the 2011 “Jane Fonda Prime Time Firm & Burn” exercise DVD, and was also the oldest contestant in a Miss Fitness pageant. Her transition to becoming an actress in her senior years has been written about in Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times newspaper. Lee Gale now makes appearances at author talk/book signings and also blogs under the title: “Reinventing Myself in My Senior Years” with a goal of inspiring Baby Boomers and seniors to find something to be passionate about as a motivation to embrace life. Her website is: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
Where did the idea for Adventures with Dad come from?
My father and I were attending a senior acting class together and everyone in the class and in the audiences at our acting class showcases were enchanted with a senior, father and daughter acting team. It made me think what a delightful book that would make.
What does your typical day look like?
After all the mundane things like showering, getting dressed and having breakfast. I spend a lot of time lining up author talk/book signing engagements or doing other book promotion. I also go on acting auditions and am a part-time, volunteer tour guide at the world famous La Brea Tar Pits.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I do my best work in my sleep, I often wake up during the night or early in the morning with my head filled with thoughts for stories. I write memoirs, so they are things I’ve actually experienced.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Baby Boomers and seniors are discovering that life isn’t over when the kids are grown and you’ve retired from your career. In my talks and my blog, I try to inspire Baby Boomers and seniors to find something to be passionate about as a motivation to embrace life.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m always promoting whenever I have the chance. I carry business cards in my wallet and copies of my memoir in my car. I ask people for suggestions on where I might speak or promote.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I once had a short-term job sitting alone in a room adding book supplement pages to an attorney’s legal reference series, and it was mind-numbing. I learned that I wanted to have a career doing stimulating work, preferably with people.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d try hard to overcome the stage fright that intimidated me and held me back for so many decades. Now that I’ve conquered it, I find it so exciting to speak to groups or crowds of people.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Have your promotional materials updated and in top shape. I immediately update both my acting website (www.LeeGaleGruen.com) and my book website (www.AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com) when I have something new to add. If someone is interested, you can refer them to your website or a YouTube video or whatever. I also put the links to my websites and videos in my electronic signature which appears under all my emails.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
I don’t just sit back and wait for people to find me. I’m always asking others for suggestions or searching the internet for ways to promote myself.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I didn’t heed the advice of more experienced writers. I went ahead and did something without researching it well. It was very hard to undo it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Since I’m a writer and have ideas of things I want to write, I can’t divulge those. However, writers and any entrepreneur should decide on a title for their book/business and purchase the email address for it immediately, long before you start the business, so you’re sure that email address is available. Also, learn how to build your website yourself with one of the free online website builders. It’s a steep learning curve, but you have complete control and don’t have to go begging to your nephew or website builder and pay each time you want to update it.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I used to have crushing stage fright. It stopped me from doing so many things I wanted to do.
What software and web services do you use?
What do you love about them? I use HARO.com to help find opportunities to promote myself. (That’s how I found you.) I also link my website and blog site to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. I have acting videos and an author interview video on YouTube.com
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
APE by Guy Kawasaki. It is terrific for ideas on how to market your book.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
For writers near Los Angeles, CA, join IWOSC (Independent Writers of Southern California) www.iwosc.org, or GLAWS (Greater Los Angeles Writers Society) www.glaws.org. Both provide opportunities to network with other writers and learn about writing and marketing.
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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.