[quote style=”boxed”]I don’t quit. I had many stumbling blocks while writing but I never lost focus. If I say that I’m going to do something, I do it. No grey area.[/quote]
Monica DiNatale is an accomplished New York City Food Host and Deals Expert and has just released her first book in August. 365 Guide New York City contains 365 restaurant and bar deals in Manhattan. It is the only NYC guide book focused on eating and drinking discounts. Monica says, “Too many local neighbors living in the city, and visitors I know, felt they had to spend a fortune, so I started sharing where I go for great deals on food and drinks. In time, I realized I had a book of deals I could share. Hence, 365 Guide was born.”
Monica spent three years putting together what she wanted to be the most comprehensive guide to the best restaurant and bar deals anywhere in the city. She wanted to give the reader the inside scoop on where to go at a fraction of the price. 365 Guide is the only New York City guide that tells you where you can find: free, yes, FREE food specials throughout the city, $2-$3 drinks any day of the week, the best happy hours and more deals than any other guide on the planet!
Monica explained recently, “365 Guide is not like other guide books. This book lists deals and information on the places that have them, not just reviews, and it’s the only guide book that pays for itself!” From five-star restaurants to the best dive bars, Monica DiNatale is the New York City savings guru. Whether you live in NYC, hope to live in NYC, or are visiting, if you want to know all about New York City’s restaurants and bars-at a discount, then 365 Guide is all you need.
Monica DiNatale is a 2007 Writer’s Guild Award winner. She is a correspondent for ifood.tv and writes frequently on her blog, averaging more than 100,000 hits annually.
Where did the idea for 365 Guide New York City come from?
I am a New Yorker so I eat out eight days a week! I was always one of those people who everyone asked for restaurant advice. One day I decided to start taking advantage of all the restaurant and bar deals out there. I wrote down forty deals that I knew about and three years later, 365 Guide was born.
What does your typical day look like?
Now that all the writing is over, I am very active on social media, blogging and looking for avenues to promote 365 Guide. I like to answer questions on blogs about deals, restaurants, how to save money, etc., wherever I think I can offer my expert advice. Twitter offers a lot of ideas and creating that online community gives me an audience where I can gain fans and be a fan.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have always been focused so if I have an idea, I find out what the steps are to achieving it. I take one step at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed and lose steam. If I stick with it, I can make it happen.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I love that everyone is accessible because of social media. If you really want to make connect with someone, you can.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I don’t quit. I had many stumbling blocks while writing but I never lost focus. If I say that I’m going to do something, I do it. No grey area.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I was a telemarketer for cell phones. I learned how to talk to people and not over-sell. A smile even comes through over the phone.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’m pretty pleased but I guess I would have started my blogging as soon as I had the idea for the book. It would have been interesting to write about all it takes to get from start to finish.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Get online and have all your sites linked. It makes your job easier and gives your business the polish it deserves.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Everyone needs help. As much as we want to do it ourselves, we all need experts in other fields. I hired a PR firm to help with pitches and getting my blog off the ground. Now I am able to learn from them and use their techniques.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had an agent that I loved and really believed in 365 Guide. She left the firm and her partner passed on my project. I was disappointed but knew I would find another cheerleader and get 365 Guide off the ground. I did a few months later and the rest is history.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If anyone out there is a computer whiz, there is definitely a need for people to manage and design social media and blogs for clients. I learned it all myself but it is very time-consuming. You could definitely have a successful business specializing in getting people’s Facebook, twitter and blogs going.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I am addicted to peanut butter. I cannot buy a jar without eating all of it. If I buy some, I give it to my husband to hide from me.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I use Network Solutions for my web hosting and design. They offer a very user-friendly design platform. I also use MailChimp for email campaigns and newsletters. They really give your emails a professional look.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. We all have the power to take control and change our lives. This book can help get you going!
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I am a big fan of the Frommer’s books. As guide books they really give you everything you need to enjoy your destination. I like how user-friendly they are. The layout makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. I definitely kept that in mind while writing 365 Guide. Zagat does a good job of giving readers reviews of restaurants. I wanted to combine a personal recommendation of bars and restaurants while focusing only on places that offer discounts.
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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.