Take time to breathe, relax and enjoy the ride.
Marquina Iliev-Piselli is the Digital Marketing Director at RiffleBooks.com and an independent author-marketing consultant at AuthorpreneurLaunch.com. Through her online courses and coaching, she helps authors feel empowered, not overwhelmed, by marketing.
Since 2007, Marquina has been an author-marketer who has helped indie authors, as well as the ‘Big 5’ book publishers, reach new readers, increase ebook sales and continue sustained platform growth. Marquina is well versed in social media marketing, content marketing, organic search & ppc, book landing pages, email marketing, and growth hacking. She delivers high-quality, results-driven strategic processes and programs to help authors sell more books.
Marquina is writing her first Nonfiction book: ‘Grin & Air It: Crushing cancer with attitude, art + air guitar’ (marquinamarie.com/book)
Where did the idea for AuthorpreneurLaunch come from?
My idea for AuthorpreneurLaunch came out of my love of working with authors and books. I wanted to help individual writers with practical ways to apply online marketing techniques to sell their titles.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
On a typical day, I wake up around 5 or 5:15am to have a few hours to write. It has been challenging but this year I’m determined to publish my first book titled Grin and Air It: Crushing cancer with attitude, art + air guitar. Around 7am, my 4-year-old son wakes up. We eat breakfast together with my husband. I get our son’s lunch ready while Dan gets ready for work. Dan typically drops off Lorenzo and I call my Mom in Michigan, who is battling colon cancer. While speaking with her, I get dressed and leave the house by 9am. Currently, I still work part time in Soho for Rifflebooks.com, a community of book lovers with a daily ebook deals email newsletter until 4pm. Then I pick up our son from afterschool by 5pm. We have dinner, bath, and bedtime is 7:30pm. After our son is asleep around 8 or 8:30, I work on AuthorpreneurLaunch writing my next blog post or designing a new online course. I try to be in bed around 10 or 10:30pm. I’ll listen to a prerecorded meditation on my phone to try to relax before bed.
To make my day productive, I stick to a strict schedule and watch the clock. Before I start a task, I think about what may be involved and how efficiently I can complete it. Often, I delegate to the three women at Rifflebooks.com who help me with social media, blogging, ebook deal application selection and entering ebook data. Without help, I would be overwhelmed. I’ve learned to delegate.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When working on a creative project, I bring ideas to life by not shooting anything down in the brainstorming stage. I let myself think of sometimes off-the-wall ideas and write everything down. If I’m stuck, I’ll take a break and go for a walk around the block. Usually, once I’m back at my desk inspiration will strike, I’ll have a moment of clarity, and I’ll be able to move forward with my project.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m excited about the trend toward independent book publishing. I’ve worked with the big 5 publishers as well as indie authors for several years. Now, there are more tools and services for independent voices to get their book published. With AuthorpreneurLaunch, I love helping new authors and established authors get to the next level with their marketing and book sales.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Waking up early before the rest of the house. I’m most productive in the morning and I’ve found these few hours crucial to getting creative projects, such as writing, accomplished.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself, “Breathe. Relax and enjoy the ride a bit. Stop trying to make your dreams happen through single-minded determination. It will all be okay if you let yourself be open to what naturally happens next.”
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
If you stop watching TV, you’ll be able to accomplish your goals faster. Most people find TV relaxing, and I understand that, but it is not my preferred way to relax. If I want to relax and unwind away from my computer, I open a good book. I have stacks and stacks of lovely titles just waiting for me to have time to read them! Reading more books and different types of fiction and nonfiction helps me become a better writer.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Recommit daily to incremental positive efforts to reach your goals. Each day, set aside an hour toward accomplishing a task, but if that is too daunting, try for just 15 minutes.
For example, I have always wanted to play the guitar and thought I didn’t have time. Instead, I’ve deleted Facebook from my phone and I dedicate myself to playing guitar for just 15 minutes per evening, typically before starting my meditation time. Those 15 minutes typically end up being 30-45, and I’ll have a solid practice session. To not psych myself out of starting my guitar practice, I need to remind myself that if I ‘just commit to 15 minutes’ then I am doing enough.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Running joint-giveaways. Finding the giveaway platform called DojoMojo.ninja has been a great way for me to grow my business. I look for other companies who have similar demographics but different markets and we participate in joint-giveaways. It has been a fantastic way for me to grow my email list and have more readers to send ebook deals.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I tried to do it all by myself. I was so determined to have a business that I was learning to code, writing blog posts, advertising to get new subscribers, setting up my email platform, organizing my customer relationship management systems, creating online curriculum, and consulting with authors… I burnt out. Hard. So hard in fact that I partially attribute my cancer diagnosis at the end of 2015 to my breakneck pace. There are many reasons people get cancer, and my diagnosis was a huge wake-up call. My natural tendency is to take on everything all at once, by myself. I have learned that I must delegate. It is better for my mental health, physical health, and my business.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
At BookExpo America last week at the Javits Center in NYC, there was a startup called OwlCrate, which is a monthly subscription book delivery box. It’s a fantastic idea! But they only work with the big 5 publishers. I would LOVE to do a monthly subscription book delivery box with the most popular INDIE books on the market instead. We could have a system where the most upvoted indie books during a particular month make it into the crate. It would be awesome. If you want to run with this idea, please take it! Or email me if you think we could work together on it 😉
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Last week I purchased a pair of black high-top Doc Martens boots. I haven’t worn Docs since High School. They remind me of fun adventures in my past and brought a spring to my step.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Web services that I can not live without are Boomerang for Gmail and Hubspot Sales.
Boomerang is a Chrome browser extension that allows you to send an email back to yourself if someone does not open it. It’s great for project management. For example, if you ask to receive an image asset by a particular date, the service will send the email back to you if you have not received a reply regarding your request.
Hubspot Sales is another Chrome browser extension that I use to track sales opportunities. In addition, Hubspot Sales has a feature where you can check a box and the service will notify you when someone opens your email. This is a fantastic service for authors to use when querying agents. You can know if and when your query was opened. It helps you follow-up in a timely and appropriate manner.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Fuzzie and the Techie“ by Scott Hartley is one of my favorite books. Hartley’s book touches on modern examples of how the fuzzy and the techie must both be employed to solve today’s challenges. Having an understanding of the people who use (or will use) a product is key to our next innovative breakthroughs. My favorite line in the book is, “Where machines could be programmed to be efficient and rule-abiding, humans are messy rule-breakers who analyze situations on a case-by-case basis…” Both fuzzies and techies are needed to tackle future challenges in healthcare, politics, design, and innovation.
What is your favorite quote?
“The meaning of life is to find your gift.
The purpose of life is to give it away.”
• Make an appointment with yourself. To complete creative work you must make it a priority. Schedule time for yourself, and stick to your schedule.
• Focus on taking small steps to achieve long-term goals. 15 minutes per day can make a difference when accomplishing long term goals.
• Delegate routine tasks so you don’t sweat the small stuff.
• Read The Fuzzie and the Techie. Hartley’s book touches on modern examples of how the fuzzy and the techie must both be employed to solve today’s challenges.
• Take time to breathe, relax and enjoy the ride.
Marquina Iliev-Piselli on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Marquina
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