12 Signs You May Need to be Your Own Boss

be your own bossIf you are like a lot of people, you work in a full time job, but the hours you signed up for are far fewer than the ones you actually put in, and your raises have been paltry to non-existent for the past eight or so years.  You feel like you could do better, but you aren’t sure you have what it takes to go out on your own, start your own business, and be your own boss.

Today I was listening the Business Bootcamp Podcast and I started thinking about how people might figure out whether or not they should be working for “The Man/Woman” or not.  Since my agency represents a lot of entrepreneurs, whether they be experts, authors, or thought leaders, I thought I would try to encapsulate some of the signs I’ve noticed we have in common that may be trying to steer you on a more independent path.

  1. You are working really hard, paying your bills with not much leftover, and nearly every day you think you should be doing something else.
  2. You see the need for products and services that are not yet on the market and you can’t understand why no one is doing something about it.
  3. You were hired for your creativity and yet every time you share a new idea your colleagues and peers look at you like you have two heads or like you are vying for their jobs.
  4. You share ideas with your boss who says they are outstanding and yet time after time he goes with the status quo.
  5. You try to implement a new idea at work and you are thrown under the bus when there is a problem, even though it may not have anything to do with your idea or your execution of it.
  6. You dread going to work every day.
  7. You are rarely excited during the week.
  8. You look back at your life and realize that in your younger days you were very industrious to the point of having a lemonade stand, a paper route, top dollars in girl/boy scout fundraisers, and more.
  9. Older people used to tell you about all of the potential that you had and how you might change the world.
  10. You get bored easily, are a bit ADHD/ADD, and feel like you are going to jump out of your skin if you have to sit in your chair for one more minute.
  11. You felt like you had to get out of high school to get started with your life and then in college you started to feel the same.
  12. Others are drawn to your enthusiasm and unique take on life and the universe.

Some or all of these may apply to you.  I would never say it’s easy to be your own boss or that you have to do it even if the signs are there, but if you are struggling with the idea and want some help evaluating, this may be for you.

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Writer’s Circle Speaker Series Recap: What Is a Brand & Where Can I Get One?

Thanks to the Writers Circle for having me come in and talk about branding, publicity, and marketing with them! From the Writer’s Circle blog:

clairemckinney writer's circle

The idea of promoting my own literary work makes me want to hide under a blanket with a bag of leftover Halloween candy. Or maybe mint Oreos…, but you get the point.

Noted literary publicist Claire McKinney understands.

At a two-hour Writers Circle workshop she led on author branding and promotion last weekend, McKinney acknowledged this common reaction. “This is not something writers like to do. But in the current publishing environment, there’s a greater onus on individual authors to be involved in promoting themselves and their projects.”

Continue to the re-cap!!

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Writers Circle Speaker Series: Literary Publicist Claire McKinney

TWC’s 2015-16 Speaker Series

What Is a Brand and Where Can I Get One?
Contemporary publicity and marketing strategies for authors and their books

with literary publicist Claire McKinney

October 25, 2-4 PM
MONDO Summit

Whether you are traditionally published or publishing on your own, as an author you’ll be responsible for promoting your book. In this workshop, publishing veteran and public relations strategist Claire McKinney will:

  • Explain branding in terms of books and writersClaire McKinney Headshot - Writers Circle Speaker Series
  • How and when you should start your promotion efforts
  • Finding different angles to target markets for your work
  • Keeping a pre-publication checklist, what needs to be on it, and why
  • The fundamental differences between publicity for a traditionally published or indie book
  • Creating a timeline of activities that will keep you on track for the best marketing opportunities throughout the publication process
  • Digital versus traditional marketing and publicity
  • Social media; content marketing; and bookstores and other retail opportunities-what you need to know about how they work

Claire McKinney has been working in public relations and publicity for twenty years. She has written about publishing for websites and blogs; Publishers weekly; and recently was on the Today Show to provide expert commentary on indie publishing.

Prior to starting her own company she was the VP, Director of Publicity for Henry Holt and Company and the Director of Publicity for Miramax Books. Some of the authors and personalities she has worked with include Della Reese, Madeleine Albright, Cheryl Ladd, James Patterson, Walter Mosley, Tim Russert, Rick Moody, George Pelecanos, Heidi Julavits, and Kristin Gore.

Fee $75

Seats are limited. Register today at the link below:


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Cult of Celebrity Series 101: Do You Need to Write a Book?

I’ve said it before: American culture is all about celebrity, and how famous you are in any group on any level.  How do you get famous?  That’s a good question, and the answers vary depending on what your area of expertise is and what you are doing.

Cult of Celebrity SeriesLet me qualify all of this first by saying this is not a road map to getting famous like George Clooney.  That’s the entertainment business, which is a whole other story (trust me, I’ve been in it most of my life).
But if you want to share your knowledge or idea, and you want the opportunity to join the greater conversation and ultimately find your audience, then you might want to think about writing your own book.

It’s daunting, I know. I mean, didn’t Tolstoy write a big book?  Didn’t J.K. Rowling live for years as an underling before she got the big prize and the success that came with her brain child, Harry Potter?

I’m no Hillary or Bill or Obama, could I really do it? These (and other) questions may be roiling around in your mind.  Just tell those voices to quiet down, and take a second to consider why people are coming out of the woodwork with their own books.

Cult of Celebrity SeriesHillary Clinton launched a memoir of herself when she first ran for president.  This was a purposeful way to use the book as a marketing tool so she could get herself out there to a mass audience in a non-partisan way; at first. Dr. Oz, king of daytime television started with the “YOU” series of books (e.g. YOU: The Owner’s Manual). Malcolm Gladwell of The Tipping Point wrote for The New Yorker magazine with lots of ideas about how people think.  Fast forward to the present, and Gladwell’s series of catchy-titled books has made him rich and sought after internationally to speak to thousands.  Imagine being paid for the way you think!

Cult of Celebrity SeriesThese are major examples of people using books as marketing tools, and I could point to many more including celebrities like: Snooki, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres…all who have put their stories on paper to grow their personal brands (and make money for themselves and their publishers along the way).  But the real concern is do YOU really need to write your own book?  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I been building my expertise in a field or industry where I am respected for my ideas and what I have to say?
  • Am I an academic, teaching at a university?
  • Am I an innovative entrepreneur or CEO who has achieved success with my methods?
  • Am I a doctor who has research to share in an important area that could help a mass audience, if the information appeared outside of a medical journal or health facility?
  • Would I like to be paid and/or invited to speak to audiences?
  • Do I have a product or service to sell?
  • Am I a writer who wants to take an idea and expand on it in a broader medium?

If you relate to any of the above then it might be time for you to consider taking a big step forward and think about writing a book.  A book can help you reach a wider audience, and it can get you a bigger stage on which to present yourself and your positions.  Call it a conversation opener, a calling card, a foundation.

Will your book make you an overnight sensation?  Not necessarily.  Will you have to publish it on your own?  Possibly, but that’s what e-books are for.  Will the book limit the rest of what you have to say or share?  No, that’s why you write more books.

I’ll admit I’m considering taking the leap myself.  My reasons are business-oriented on the one hand, and on the other I see a need for information I have that could help a larger audience and sharing feels like the right thing to do.

I’ll keep you posted on that.

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Calling All Authors, Spokespeople, and Brands: Twitter is for Tweets and Other Ideas for 2015

14909082825_53603b7a64_zFirstly, I’ll fess up to taking a break from writing over the holidays.  Pretty much dead air, I know.  As much as one tries to stay inspired at this time of year, it’s hard to focus when every other email in my inbox is announcing a “one-day sale at XXXX.”  But was that yesterday that the sale ended? Or is it today? Have I taken advantage of every possible opportunity to buy, buy, buy?!  You get the picture.

Here we are at the beginning of the first full week of 2015, and I’ve been reflecting over the past year and what has been working in the world of pr and marketing and what hasn’t.  Things in the communications world continue to change as the now established forms of social media technology try to remain on top and monetize absolutely everything to keep their shareholders happy.  Newer forms also jockey for position, attempting to attract the tween and teen demographics, hoping to hook on for the generational long haul that Facebook has been managing to keep up to this point.  With all the swirling forms of media and methods out there for getting your point across, it’s as hard to figure out what to put your time and energy into as it is to figure out what sale day you have (or have missed) during the holiday rush.

I am going to share what I think are the most important things any author, spokesperson, or company seeking to create brand awareness should be considering right now.  Call these resolutions or thoughts for the New Year or don’t subscribe to any-it’s totally up to you and your comfort level with technology.  But in general, I think that “old” methods need not be completely disregarded and “new” ones need to be used strategically and efficiently so as not to take over your life, as follows:

1. Make a business card and circulate it.  Literally carry these things everywhere including your child’s soccer games and on vacation.

2. Research your field, your competitors, and your target market.  Know your audience and find out what is important to the people in it.

3. Tumblr is still cool so check it out and play around with it.  Tumblr has managed to stay through all of the changes that have happened, and for the right person or brand it is an excellent way to create a valuable destination and community.  This is one of my resolutions for 2015.

4. When posting on Facebook limit text to a few lines maximum and share a picture or video.  Also consider that Facebook is primarily reaching a 35+ demographic these days and that recent articles (and I can’t find the link to the one I read last week, so if you do, please tweet me) have noted that in order to get advertising dollars, Facebook is or may be considering charging people for prominence in the News Feed.  Also, not all of your posts are being listed in everyone’s feed on your list.  We’ve known for a while that Facebook is falling out of favor as a marketing tool.  It is at the point where the ability to hone in on a community is going to cost you and the days of the “free” online marketing/social media are dwindling for this outlet.

5. LinkedIn is great for businesses and related topics, so post your blogs and other content you find relevant on a weekly basis.

6. Twitter is for tweets, but don’t just use it as a curating tool.  People who read Twitter like links/pics/video that is informative, interesting, unique, helpful, and important, unless you are a celebrity and can give us a blow by blow account of what you ate for breakfast. Most people don’t like having a single person blowing up in their Twitter feed with 10 tweets in a row. Space out what you have to say as not to annoy someone so much they’ll press the “unfollow” button on your profile. Also, in order to generate followers it will be helpful to you to create your own content that can be distributed and you should share your opinions about what you are sending out.

7. Instagram is becoming more popular every day, especially with teens and young adults. Everyone loves pictures, and Instagram allows an easy and straightforward way to share your life with followers: post a picture, and add a caption if you’d like. You can get creative with your photos and the filters that come with it: a cute photo of your cat in black-and-white, a photo of someone reading your book in a coffee shop, an iPhone screenshot of someone’s Tweet complimenting your writing, etc.

8. Write original blogs that are useful to your target audience twice a month.  Content marketing is all the rage, and truly I know it works from experience. Tweet or share your blog posts on Facebook and LinkedIn—you never know who might find your information valuable.

9. Meet people in person.  Consider looking into public speaking, go to conventions where you’ll find like-minded people, visit bookstores if you have written a book, shake the hand of your local librarian, become a member of the local chamber of commerce, and any other way you can put faces to names and make a lasting impression.

Pick two or three of these or even one for the first few months if this seems overwhelming.  They are listed in order of simplest to most time consuming, so go for it!

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