On this episode of the podcast, I speak with Joanna Penn, Award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is a podcaster, international speaker, and award-winning creative entrepreneur. Her site, The Creative Penn is regularly voted one of the Top 100 blogs for writers by Writers Digest. If you want to figure out how to write books and even make money writing, then this interview is a must-listen.
Joanna studied theology in school and then went into IT consulting where she learned all about business but was miserable doing it. She went through a cycle of working and quitting until she realized that she should start her own business. It took stints in real estate and then a scuba diving company, all of which she hated and “failed” at to realize she needed to do something she loved.
These “failures” also gave her the insight that she did not want to manage people or assets. Rather, she wanted to do high-profit margin work that she loved that could be done anywhere in the world on a laptop. That led her to become a writer where she could do the things she loved -- read, write, and travel.
Joanna loves reading Thrillers and Dan Brown inspired her to combine her fascination with religion to write her highly successful ARKANE series. This following your interests approach is a great way for entrepreneurs to figure out a way to create an independent life that completes them. If you’re an author, chances are, you don’t make a whole lot from your writing and that’s why Joanna has multiple streams of income -- selling books is only one of them. This allows her to do what she loves while also making a living -- an important part of being an entrepreneur.
Now let’s get better together
Actions to Try or Advice to Take
- Freelancing: A good way to see if you have the entrepreneur mindset is to freelance either on the side or if you’re bold, fulltime.
- Business Overhead (office space, insurance, employees, etc.) is one thing that can sneak up on you. Make sure you have a handle on that.
- Try different paths: You never know what will work for you so try things and don’t be afraid to “fail.”
- What you learn early in life may come back and be useful someday. Case in point Joanna’s knowledge of theology is throughout her novels.
- Your work environment will impact your physical health -- especially if you’re an introvert. Make sure that you understand what affects you and build an environment around you that feeds you.
- Most authors are not entrepreneurs because they don’t think of themselves as business people or rather they are not business people. This is a big hurdle to get over as an author because you do have to do the business side of authorship in order to be successful.
- If you struggle with something or learn something, it’s important that you share that knowledge with the world.
- When you exchange time for money, you lose a certain amount of freedom. It’s best, if possible, to create products or services that can generate money for you.
- Digital, Global, and Mobile First: That’s how Joanna thinks about her businesses.
Links to Explore Further
- The Creative Penn
- Joanna on Twitter and LinkedIn
- Jarie’s Episode on Joanna’s Podcast.
- AI Superpowers Book.
- 7 Figure Small
- Stone of Fire and Valley of Dry Bones part of the ARKANE series.