Purpose of business: Writing, Awareness, All Topics, and Modeling
Industry: Writing and Modeling, additional website: www.ritapreston.com
What made you want to start your own business?
After 32 years in income tax and financial service, working for and with a dear friend, I needed a change. When in school (primary through high school in the US system), I aspired to be a writer. When I was asked to stay home from the office in the early days of the global pandemic shutdown, I knew I could not sit still. I signed up for an online writing course. I ended up participating in several collaborative books, was published in Mo2vate Magazine, and realized that writing was within my grasp. Prior to that, I had been an independent sales representative for a couple of online enterprises. I look back and think that I although I wanted to increase my income stream and make a go of those businesses, I truly wanted to take a leap on my own. I hadn’t fully accepted that and hesitated to leave my dear friend, although she is quite capable on her own, having grown her office very well over the last few decades. She continues and I have jumped out to bring my writing career to the forefront of my life. I am blessed to have had my friend’s support as I changed careers!
Has your business changed since you started, if so why and how?
Indeed, I started on the writing venture to fulfil my lifelong desire of writing. As the past three years have transpired, I realize that making a living from writing is, as my high school English teacher predicted, not a way for most people to make a living, but that at this point in my life, it is fulfilling. Indeed, I would like to ‘make a living’ from it, but, as I near the standard US retirement age, supplementing income is okay too. Making a profit is good. Becoming filthy rich isn’t necessary (but could be fun!). Now, I want to enjoy sharing my words with the world, my love for linguistics, and hopefully inspiring the next generation.
What do you enjoy the most about doing what you do?
I love to write. I love to wordplay. I love linguistics. I love languages (not just English). I want to learn more, share more, and write more! I love telling a tale, spinning a yard, and making a joke. My late mum-in-law said that I was the family storyteller. Back then, I thought that meant I talked to much (I can be a chatterbox). Now, I realize what a great compliment she gave! I love the drama, the intrigue, the mystery of a good tale. I appreciate facts, but know that there is so much more than ‘the sky is blue.’ What shade of blue? Is it warm or cool? Is there a breeze? Indeed, I love being a storyteller and am proud of that. Sharon Brown at The Book Chief Publishing Company and Mo2vate Media has also said that I am more of a storyteller. No longer embarrassed by my verbosity, I am intent on wearing the badge!
What is the best testimonial you’ve received?
The best testimonial: that I talk too much, that I talk a lot, that I am a storyteller, that I am dramatic!
What steps have you taken to grow your business over the past 24 months?
The biggest step in the past 24 months was to resign from my day job of 32 years and walk away from my comfort zone!
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your own business?
The biggest lesson: Do not plan to get rich overnight! Allow time for growth, progress, more learning, applying the things learned, and patience!
What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting up now?
Advice for starting your own business right now: Make sure you have finances in reserve to tide you over until your business actually makes a profit. Give yourself time, several years in fact. Having worked in taxes and financial services, know that you will probably be in the red for the first three (3) or more years before you start being able to pay yourself (especially if you have employees to pay). Do not expect profit early on.
What is the hardest part of being a business owner, past or present?
The hardest part of being self-employed: is seeing others make a living (employees, suppliers, etc) while you’re eating cheap food, keeping your inspiration in front of you, and spending more on promotion than you are receiving in income. The financial struggle is probably the biggest struggle — at least from what I’ve observed over the past 32+ years. I come from a unique background seeing various-sized businesses, growing and/or failing. It can be heartbreaking. It can be phenomenally outstanding too!
What is the most rewarding part of running your own business?
The most rewarding thing about stepping out on my own as a writer is having the freedom to work from my laptop, wherever I am. With a husband who is retired, we like to travel now and then. We went out on a limb and purchased a vacation home ‘down south’ in the US. Now I can take my work with me and not fret about what I left at the office. I can write when I want and where I want. I don’t have to tell my husband that we can’t take a certain trip because of my day job. Personal freedom is a huge blessing. Thirty years ago, I would have worried that I didn’t dare take time off to travel. I was younger and more cautious. I think the stereotype is that younger people are more willing to take risks and tackle adventures. For me, the risks and adventure are more satisfying as I have aged.
Where do you want your business to be in the next 12 months?
Where do I want my business to be in 12 months? That is a tough one. I would like to be published in my own right. I have already participated in a number of collaborative books and currently working on my first solo book. Twelve months from now, that solo work will have been published. I would like to think it will soar to the top of all charts, a bestseller, garnering interview requests, and huge royalties.
Realistically, I hope it sells! I pray that my words create food for thought, provide inspiration and hope to others, and create a few laughs here and there.