Ep. 218 – Jenn T Grace pivoted from a consultant to a successful book publisher, bringing voice to the invisible stories that free people from their isolation
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Jenn T. Grace, M.S., Founder & CEO of Publish Your Purpose.
Jenn T. Grace is a nationally recognized business strategist, speaker, and award-winning author. She has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC.
Jenn passionately believes the more raw and real we can be—the deeper the connections we can experience. This drives her fierce commitment to bring voice to the invisible stories that free people from their isolation.
She is committed to giving underrepresented voices power and a stage to share their stories, speak their truth, and impact their communities. She is the Founder of Publish Your Purpose and In addition to publishing 70+ books that share the stories of others, Jenn has written six, including her memoir, House on Fire.
A marathon runner, animal lover, and novice birder. She lives in Connecticut with her family.
Most passionate about
- I feel like my passion always lies in helping people tell their stories. And how I do that is by helping people publish their books—primarily nonfiction books and memories.
- What I'm really passionate about, as of late, is making a difference within the larger publishing space and context surrounding the predatory practices of many publishers out there, who are essentially taking advantage of first-time authors.
Jenn’s career and story
- I was a consultant. My background is in marketing, so that's certainly a unique angle that we bring to the publishing process. We really have a strong focus on the marketing side.
- I wrote my first book in 2013. I started it probably at the end of 2011, beginning of 2012. I self-published it, and I made every possible mistake. It was not a good-quality product.
- I wrote a second book, and I learned from all of my mistakes on the first one. And then I wrote a third book.
- By the time I was in between my second and third books, everyone I knew kept asking me, “How did you know how to hire an editor? How did you know how to lay out the book?” I kept getting all of these questions: “How did you do this? How did you do that?” The process of having one-on-one conversations with people and then teaching people in smaller groups how to get their books published eventually led me to found a full-blown publishing company in 2015.
Best advice for entrepreneurs
- The best thing that I would recommend is to track your data. The only way that we can really scale and increase that impact is if we really truly know the very core of whom we're serving.
- The more clear you can be on whom you're serving, and the more you track that, the more robust it becomes, and the easier it makes your marketing for purposes of finding more of that same person.
The biggest, most critical failure with customers
- I think, in a lot of ways, it’s ego.
- I had this kind of ego that was telling me, “You can't switch focuses, you can't switch your business, you're known for doing this consulting work, and you've worked for a decade to build your reputation in that specific consulting area.”
- I think if I had listened to my intuition, listened to my gut and my instincts, I would have started the publishing business even faster, or perhaps more confidently, rather than fighting it like an internal battle with myself that no one actually saw on the surface.
Biggest success with customers
- One of the things that I was completely hell-bent on achieving was to get national recognition for our chamber of commerce. I had such laser focus.
- This is a really good example of how I do this in my business. I had laser focus on winning the Chamber of the Year award on a national level in the U.S.
Jenn’s recommendation of a tool
- Google Suite.
- It helps you remember who you were supposed to be following up with.
Jenn’s one key success factor
- I would say, if I had to define it for myself (and probably everybody around me would say), it’s my level of organization. A default function for me is just being exceptionally organized.
Since we believe that the best way for entrepreneurs to get fast, big, and sustainable success is by leading your (new) market category, and the entire entrepreneurial journey reminds me of mountaineering, I want to ask you: Is there a mountain you dream of climbing or a mountain you have already climbed?
- What's interesting is that I have been hustling and busting my hump for 15 years in my business. I have been on what I feel like is a straight-up mountain cliff where I have constantly tried to get to that next peak.
- Now we're trying to pull the right levers that are going to help scale things in the way that we're hoping. You would imagine that, in the scaling, we'd be on that kind of very steep mountain face again. But the reality is that I feel like I am standing on—I don't want to say a plateau, because I feel like there's a negative connotation to “plateau”—but I feel like I'm standing very firmly in a nice, level piece on a mountain right now.
- I'm just looking down, and I'm also looking up before I start to climb that next very steep cliff, because I want to make sure that I'm really intentional as we start to scale. And so, we're very much focused on profitability, and our profit margins, our cost of goods sold, and all of those types of things.
- It feels good to kind of slow down before really scaling that next mountain.
[caption id="attachment_7309" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Standing on a mountain | illustration[/caption]
The best ways to connect with Jenn
- Social Media Links:
- Twitter: Jenn T. Grace Twitter & Publish Purpose Twitter
- Facebook: Jenn T. Grace Facebook & Publish Your Purpose Press Facebook
- Instagram: Jenn T. Grace Instagram & Publish Your Purpose Press Instagram
- LinkedIn: Jenn T. Grace LinkedIn & Publish Your Purpose LinkedIn
- House on Fire: Finding Resilience, Hope, and Purpose in the Ashes
- Beyond The Rainbow: Personal Stories and Practical Strategies to Help your Business & Workplace Connect with the LGBTQ Market
- Therapy Notes for Families: Staying organized with your child's needs
Join the Publish Your Purpose Author Lab. This workshop will cover a wide range of topics with the ultimate goal of getting your draft manuscript completed. We will cover topics such as writing techniques to make the process faster, how to move past emotional hurdles, and even how to bypass your procrastination. At the end of the workshop, you will have an actionable plan for how (and when) you are going to complete your first draft.
If you'd like to join, please visit https://publishyourpurposepress.com/authorlab and join the Publish Your Purpose Author Lab, today. And, please keep me posted on your progress!