Noel Parent, 38, is a writer, landscaper and researcher with a B.A. from University of Notre Dame. He has lived in South Bend, Indiana and Auroville, India but currently resides in Atlanta GA. Reach him on his blog website or on Facebook. His book ‘Transcendent Sky - A Spiritual Journey of Poetry’ is a 64-page paperback and e-book on poetry, spirituality and yoga published June 2013. You can find out more on the website and the Facebook page. The book is available for purchase in paperback at the Createspace E-store, on Amazon Kindle and on Smashwords for Nook, Sony, Kobo and other E-books.
Noel shares about the idea for the book, the genre, the research - I have been writing poetry for 15 years as a natural outflow of all my inner spiritual seeking and meditation. It had become a way of expressing the deeper Truth that I was awakening to within myself, which came naturally as a part of my Yoga. Even around 2000, I had compiled one collection of poems under the same name as the current book, but never published it. I recently felt a strong need to share this poetry with everyone, and finally decided to take the best poems and organize it into a decent book to offer to others. To put it simply, it just felt like now was the time to do this book. It has been a long process of inner exploration over many years…a constant research of the Soul, Spirit, and Consciousness.
Were there challenges in the writing process, was there a writing schedule? Writing poetry for me is not about thinking, but about entering an inner Silence in order to connect with something deeper and beyond oneself, something Divine. So the difficulty comes in being able to stay with that Silence and Openness and then receiving something that is beyond oneself, and yet still a part of oneself at the same time, so that one can express it in as pure and clear a way as possible. It is truly a Yoga practice, a practice of awakening Consciousness. In fact, the writing is not the most difficult part, but rather the editing and organizing of the book after the poems are already written…when the mind becomes more involved! I had no structure, no time…whenever the Inspiration came, wherever…so many different times and places.
On collaborators, technology and publishing - My close friend Jenny Beaudin helped me with the cover image editing and creation. She does photo retouching work. Most poems I wrote by hand in a small notepad first, then later typed all into a computer document. I really saw this first book as an experiment in self-publishing. I never thought about sending to publishing companies, as I knew this would be a very long process, and I just wanted to put something into the world and see what would happen. I thought I would simply offer it as an E-book only, but then decided to also do the Print-On-Demand service through Amazon's Createspace. I wanted to cover all areas with a print version and also being able to offer it as an E-book for all formats and versions - Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, even a generic PDF for those who just want to read on a computer. I feel the most options offered the better.
What was the process after that, once you had your book ready to be published? And how did you market it? A lot of the work was in the technical formatting of the book for the various formats needed - the print version needed one format, then an E-book format. In fact, two versions of the E-book were needed because of the technical demands for the different E-book formats…one for Kindle, one for Smashwords, which does the formatting for all other E-book versions. Once this was done, began the long road of marketing and researching ways to market…an endless job for self-publishers, I feel. I am still really at the beginning of the marketing phase, but I already had a blog/website related to my writings on which I added a page for my book, while writing a Book Release blog to put out into my Wordpress community, and beyond. I also created a Facebook page, and plan to use social media as much as possible. I sent a mass email to all my Email addresses to get friends and family involved in spreading the word. I hope in time to start visiting independent bookstores and other artsy shops to inquire about carrying my book, as well as visiting poetry readings. I plan to do a press release to various newspapers/magazines, and also create an email list for various poetry groups, yoga studios, spiritual communities and other groups that might connect with my particular brand of poetry. I plan to do this slowly as I have time. I'm certainly open to any leads people have to share!
His plans for the future - I will have at least one, possibly two, children's books being published by early 2014. I continue to write articles for my blog, but also have plans to write a couple novels and a nonfiction book on spirituality, consciousness, and Yoga.
Your advice for aspiring writers? Well, as I am still in the beginning of my own journey in publishing, I can only offer this: Don't be too much in a hurry, take your time and do every detail with perfection and care, follow what your inner Sense tells you in terms of what direction to take - to self-publish or to find a publisher, to do a print book or an E-book or both. And just keep at it, be creative in all aspects of the work - the writing, the design and layout, the marketing, with everything…and reach out to everyone to make the connections that can slowly grow and help build a network of people who want to read what you have to say.
Noel is the first poetry writer to be featured here. We look forward to his books in 2014!
Okay, month two on this - The focus was on language and messaging, the importance of communication. I cant share much more than that and face the wrath of Chris! But if you want to check it out then feel free to click here and sign up! (I do earn a small commission on that). A lot of interesting pointers, definitely actionable, some stuff I knew and some I knew but did not pay attention to so I am going to work on this and see if they really bring about a difference in business. What I like about this course is:
1. He uses little snippets from other books and resources so you can add to your reading list and learn more from that source if you are so inclined.
2. He shares stories of other business owners and how they did what they did to be successful.
3. He has a feedback form that you can mail in on at any time should you have a question. And he responds to ya, I know from experience :)
Let's do this together, shall we?
Angela McKeller, 37, is an Author, Writer and Recipe Developer with her company, Jella Enterprises, LLC. Born in Augusta, GA and residing in Decatur, GA, she has a BA in Spanish from State University of West Georgia (2001). Angela currently lives in Liege, Belgium, with her partner, Shiva, French bulldog, Kosmo, and English bulldog, Butch. Read more about Angela and her work on her Website and Blog or connect with Angela on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Let’s start from where it all began! I began working from home six years ago when Time Magazine profiled YouTube as a growing phenomenon. I thought, “Now that's interesting. The internet is making people famous. I can do that!” Working from home was a necessity because I had become chronically ill, and I needed something that was going to generate income while giving me the space to heal. I did not have a business plan. It was an intuitive process. I created videos on YouTube and then people asked for a cookbook. I created a cookbook and then it didn't sell. Over time, I shifted to a gluten-free diet for my cystic acne and created a new book to reflect my new path.
Obstacles and benefits: Finding my niche! When I first began, I was trying to reach everyone. I later created an avatar of myself, where I asked myself what was important, and I began by asking myself some tough questions. Then when I really honed in on what would help me develop personally, that's what I began creating - what excited me and made a difference in my own life. Suddenly, my market was there. I experienced balance in my life, because I was creating what I needed, rather than focusing on what others needed. I achieved peace not only because I was creating it for myself, but also because the people around me were finding peace through my work. I also experienced freedom. I live by my schedule rather than someone else's schedule and it feels great!
Financial, emotional and social aspects: Financially, I did horrible at first! As I went on, I redefined what ‘rich’ means and while I make plenty of money now, it's not the money that matters to me. It's the richness in experiences and the experiences that others share with me and how amazing it feels to help others create what they want in their lives - be it happiness, a great meal, or a creative new path to freedom! Emotionally, it was a roller coaster in the beginning. I was invited to be on Paula Deen's show on The Food Network, to be a guest on "Carolina Kitchen" and later on PBS with Chef Marvin Woods' "Georgia Cooks" and while the publicity is great fun, it doesn't pay the bills! Socially, I excelled. That is the wonderful thing about being in business for yourself. You have a great excuse to get out and meet new people. Get out there, talk, and don't be afraid to tell others how great your new venture is! I found that when I shared what was working for me rather than the services I hoped they would buy, people were intrigued by my authentic peace and happiness and they would share my story with others.
Memorable factors that helped get started: Don't worry about how things will unfold in the future. Focus on the resources (friends, family, office supplies, space in your home) that you have right now and ask yourself how you can begin creating what you want here and now. Define what "ideal" means to you. Let go of your current definition of ideal. Things can be less than perfect and when you don't mind imperfection, you'll have the space to create something that perhaps isn't even on your radar right now! Don't worry about money. I know that sounds really hard to do, but if you focus on the money rather than how you can create something meaningful, ideas will be few and far between. Focus on what you want and need in your life and begin creating from there. If it makes your life great, other people will naturally want it!
Currently, Angela writes books and develops recipes.. She loves the creativity behind cooking but writing books inspiring others to create meaningful change in their lives is where her passion lies. “I do not have my own team, but I work with others. Bilal Choudhry is my online marketing guru and he's phenomenal. I have a few different folks that design book covers. Jenny with Jigsaw Indexing does the indexing. Never feel like you have to do everything alone. Elance and oDesk are great resources. It's so true that we all get by with a little (or a lot!) of help from our friends!”
Average day? Work schedule? I get up around 4 a.m., eat a light breakfast, go back to bed until about 8 a.m., and have a snack. I reflect on what I've learned from the previous day. I write blogs, update Facebook, write recipes, return emails, and get administrative things done. I eat a light lunch, take the dogs for a walk, spend about two hours catching up with my better half, connecting with nature and really allowing myself to experience peace (not just think about peace!). Then I return to my computer, continue writing recipes or working on current books, and around 6-8 p.m. we enjoy dinner and I call it a day. Then it's time for another walk with the dogs, X-Files, The Twilight Zone (I love the old 60s version) or even "Brave" - I love Pixar! I personally don't adhere to a schedule. I find that every time I try to make plans, something comes up or gets in the way. I do what feels right and everything falls into place just as it should. Trust yourself. Allow mistakes and learn from them. I work Monday through Sunday, and take days off when I feel I need a break. I find that if I feel super creative on Monday, why force that creativity into five days? If I want to write for 12 hours and take two days off, that's what I allow myself to do.
Biggest challenges: Bad days! It can be so hard for me to accept that I'm having a bad day. I don't feel creative, I feel lazy because I slept too long (or didn't sleep enough), I feel worthless because I'm fighting fatigue, then I'll try to force myself to write. It doesn't work. It's like my bad days try to tell me that no matter how much I want to turn a bad day into a good day, a day is just a day. None of them are really bad, the "bad" is just telling me to slow down.
Celebrated moments: When I can go outside and paint, walk with the dogs, play badminton with the neighbor's son after school. A 9-5 job would have me missing out on moments like that. It's the little things that I celebrate most. The little things that I never even knew existed.
Liberties/restrictions of being 100% work from home: The liberties are being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. The restrictions? Being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. I have to remind myself that it's all about balance. Don't focus on restrictions, otherwise they'll keep showing up. Don't focus on liberty or it will be elusive. I just do what feels right, moment by moment.
Work you enjoy the most or least? I despise the pressure of deadlines. So I ask my clients to tell me what they need for the whole month or year. This way, I can do the work as my creativity flows, rather than trying to schedule my creativity. Monet didn't schedule the water lilies - he painted it when it felt right! So what I enjoy most? Creating an environment of creativity rather than work!
Do you have a support network? I am a member of "The End of Fear Project" and that has been instrumental in helping me create balance by eliminating fear. Are the people there perfect? No. Sometimes we behave quite poorly, but we work through it! That said…are the people there inspiring? Yes. By seeing people consistently face their fears without shame or embarrassment, I have been inspired to do the same. Personally, my better half balances me extraordinarily well. It's so important to have the support of a partner, to encourage you, and help you work through the obstacles.
What are your tools/mechanisms to success? For several months, I talked with Jessica Schab and Diego Kricek Fontanive as mentors. Now I have reached a point where I no longer need to be mentored one on one, but maintaining a presence in the End of Fear Project keeps me on track. I have learned that it's who the mentor is that is important, but who makes me help myself is most important. If I'm stressed out, I give myself the freedom to take a break from it all.
Current financial, social and emotional status: I'm happy with my finances, which were practically non-existent up until about six months ago! I have created enough passive income with my first book, "Gluten-Free Made Easy as 1,2,3: Essentials for Living a Gluten-Free Life" that I can work part-time developing recipes. Soon I am publishing a cookbook, "Vol 1: The Gluten-Free Shopping Made Easy Cookbook: 25 Gluten-Free, Egg-Free & Dairy-Free Slow Cooker Dinner Recipes". Another book I am in the process of writing is "Releasing Fear Now: Freedom from Belief in the Mind". So many people are afraid of working from home because they believe it isn't possible for so many reasons. It has been incredible to help people see the source of these fears so I'm really excited about writing this book. Socially, fantastic! I don't attend networking events any more, but I love meeting people when I travel. Emotionally, it's night and day from when I first started. My perspective on life has shifted, and this has enabled me to create a work from home experience that is not perfect, but wonderful.
Networking, social media and marketing: I network the most on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Word of mouth has been most instrumental in my success. When others feel that you have peace and balance in your life, they'll naturally think about mentioning you to others more often. I don't schedule time for social media, but when something pops up in my feed I respond. I keep my posts timely and relevant. Marketing is huge. My colleague Bilal would be the one to ask about that!
Finding clients: Face to face networking almost never worked for finding new clients. A great example of this is how I met Ruksana. At the time, I wasn't writing books, so I never considered the possibility that I would need her services. She and I became friends on Facebook and years after I met her, I saw it pop up in my feed that she was an editor. Synchronicity? Serendipity? Maybe. LinkedIn and word-of-mouth has been the most helpful for finding clients.
Do you find time to indulge in pursuits that are non-professional? Absolutely! I tell people that life is a game, so have fun with it. I paint like a 5-year-old (and yes, it looks extremely amateur!), go bowling, hula hoop, sing karaoke, make a fool of myself in front of strangers. I just do not care what others think. I march to the beat of my own drum and while I may not love every minute of it, life is a fantastic adventure!
Your best achievement – Wow, that's the toughest question so far! It's hard to say if it's the difference I make in the lives of others or the difference I make in my own life. It's rewarding to experience and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my experience with people reading this now.
Your worst failure – Broke and suicidal. I'm not proud to admit that, but I won't pretend that it's all been easy, glittery unicorns and fairies. It was hard and I had to dismantle some serious fears to get to where I am today. That said, face your fears. It's so worth it and beyond any words I can write here to convey the pay-off.
So does she plan to continue being 100% work from home? “Yes! I cannot imagine life any other way, nor would I want to!” Angela wants to take everything as it comes, moment by moment. “The universe has a way of stepping in and saying, “Plans?! What plans?!”, so I don't even pretend to be able to plan five years out any more! I am looking forward to facing the unknown without fear. Every day is a new lesson and a new experience.”
To others currently considering 100% work from home, Angela dishes out this advice: Don't be afraid to fail. If you fail, get back up, brush yourself off, and ask yourself what you learned without beating yourself up. I constantly remind myself that the source of all pain, frustration, and sense of failure can be reduced to three words: I don't understand. My own example here, as it relates to business, is “I hate marketing!” So, I asked myself, “Is it because you don't know why the marketing failed?” Take away the frustration behind marketing and ask yourself gently how you can do it differently. Don't take life too seriously. Life really is a game and if it's not, don't be afraid to ask yourself why life is so challenging. Every step of pain along the way has been a learning lesson to get me to where I am now. As long as we learn, there's no reason to hold on to the past in an effort to stop it from manifesting in the future.
Thanks Angela for sharing your inspirational 100% Work from Home experience!