When it comes to side hustling, there is one ultimate side hustle, the side hustle all writers dream of but very few accomplish. That, my friends, is writing a book.
I’m proud to welcome my friend Shannon here to the blog today. Shannon owns Financially Blonde and Next Gen Financial. She is an accomplished financial advisor, blogger, podcaster, speaker, and now author. Basically, she is an all around entrepreneur and one of my real life friends.
I’ve been wanting to sit down and interview Shannon since her book, Train Your Way to Financial Fitness, came out. It’s the perfect book to read at the beginning of the year to whip yourself into financial shape.
Shannon took the time to sit down and answer some questions about what it was like to write a book and give advice to bloggers who are looking to do the same. Here we go:
Hey Shannon! First, tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you want to write it and how did you come up with the concept? It has a very unique layout, sort of a choose your own adventure type book, right?
As a financial planner, I am always looking for resources to help my clients on their financial journeys, and while there are a number of books on how you should invest and manage your money, which I consider steps two or three in the financial planning process, there didn’t seem to be any books on step one. After all, how can you explain investments to someone, when they don’t have a basic understanding of their money and the financial choices they make?
From my experience working with clients, I believe there are three basic financial types, Financially Fit, Financially Skinny and Financially Fat, and the same advice and guidance doesn’t apply to all three types. Therefore, I created a quiz to help you identify your type and from there you only need to read your own section of the book. We all lead busy lives, so I didn’t want too much reading to get in the way of getting Financially Fit!
I know there are many ways to write a book, from finding your own agent, meeting publishers at conferences, to taking the reins and self-publishing. What route did you take, and do you think it was the right decision in retrospect?
I originally self-published my book and offered it for sale through my blog, and then after reading an email from HARO or Help A Reporter Out, I responded to a publisher’s inquiry looking for new authors who were planning to build a business with a book. From there, I worked with my publisher and created Train Your Way to Financial Fitness which is a revised version of the original eBook.
I actually started working on the book before I ever started the blog, and I can say without a doubt that writing the blog is MUCH easier than writing the book, especially once it went into editing mode. I am glad that I wrote the book first, though, because I felt as though it kept my content fresh and not like something I was rehashing from my site.
What were some of the challenges and pitfalls you experienced during the writing process?
The editing process was the most difficult part for me in writing the book. When I first wrote the eBook, I had two friends review my work; however, they couldn’t pick up on everything. In hindsight, I would have hired an editor to review my eBook as there were a number of issues that I discovered during the publisher’s review. I don’t really kick myself, though, because I am a financial planner first and foremost and a writer is something I evolved into. Even the best writers need an editor, though, so I highly recommend investing in one even if you self-publish.
I took the quiz at the beginning of your book, and I’m financially skinny. Knowing me, my family, and my career path as an entrepreneur, what steps should I take to become financially fit?
I am actually not surprised to see that you are Financially Skinny, as you read in the book, I think the biggest steps you can take to becoming Financially Fit are focusing on the details. As you saw with your food budget in January, when you focused on the details, you saved significant money. It’s hard to work on the details when you have small children, a job and a husband, but the more you practice those habits, the easier they become.
What advice would you give someone who wants to write a book? Do you think bloggers are better suited for it or worse suited for it?
I think if anyone wants to write a book, they should just write it. If you think you have an idea, just start writing it out. Start with an outline and see where your thoughts go from there. It may sound like a daunting task; however, the more you keep working at it, the easier it gets and before you know it, you will have written enough for a book. I actually think it’s tough for bloggers to write a book because our brains are wired to creating fully formed thoughts in 2,000 words or less. I know that it would be harder for me now to write this book because of my blogging than it was two years ago when I started it.
What steps did you take to market your book and make it a success?
I promoted my book actively on my blog and through my other social and personal networks. I reached out to a handful of my blogging friends and asked for reviews or mentions on their sites, and my publisher used various tools like NetGalley and Amazon marketing to help as well.
How did you fit in actually writing a book? You have an extremely busy schedule, a husband, and a son. What steps can other bloggers take to find the time to make the leap from blogger to author?
Truthfully, I wrote the book predominantly when I was preparing to leave one job and start my own company. Since it was a transition period for me, I found the time to focus on the book. When I needed to work on the publisher’s edits, a year later, though, I literally had to put most of my life on hold for a solid two weeks and that was no easy feat. Fortunately, I planned in advance for that period and worked hard before and after to make it work. Like anything, if it’s important to you, you will find the time and make it work.
Do you have any events (or resources, plans, etc?) coming up that you’d like to share with our readers where they can learn more about becoming Financially Fit?
I am currently in the process of raising venture capital money to create The Financial Gym, which will be a physical storefront where anyone can go to get and stay Financially Fit. The Financial Gym will offer classes on anything from budgeting to investing as well as financial trainers for those who want one on one help with their money. The Financial Gym will be a franchise, so hopefully people can find one in a town near them sooner than later!
Where can we find out more about you, your book, and your business?
If you want to read my blog or listen to my podcast, you can find both on Financially Blonde. If you would like to know more about the financial training I do, you can check out my business site, NextGen Financial, and if you would like to buy the book Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, it’s available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Thanks Shannon for taking the time to answer my questions!
Readers, have you ever wanted to write a book? Do you have any other questions for Shannon? Also, stay tuned because we have some more advice from another blogger turned author coming to you on Wednesday!