When you hear the word “author,” your mind likely goes to big names like James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Agatha Christie, or even Dr. Seuss. Yet, if you look at the latest bestseller lists, you’ll also find names of people who are perhaps better known for their businesses. James Collins, Dale Carnegie, Stephen Covey, Tim Ferriss, and Seth Godin would all be on this list.
But here’s the thing. You don’t have to be the owner of a multi-million (or billion) dollar business to author a book. In fact, every solopreneur should write and publish at least one book in their lifetime, and here are five reasons why.
It Increases Your Credibility
Having your name on the cover of a book makes you more credible. It helps establish you as an expert in your field by highlighting your knowledge and experience.
Think about it. If you go to a service provider’s website and it shows a book or two that have been written by the owner, what’s your first thought? If you’re like most people, your opinion of them raises. Being an author gives them more authority, which is someone you want to do business with.
It Adds Another Revenue Stream
One of the negatives about being a solopreneur is that you’re the only one bringing in income for your business. This can be especially challenging if you get paid for your services on an hourly rate because there are only so many hours you can work in the day.
Writing a book gives you another revenue stream. More specifically, a passive revenue stream. This means that once you have the book written, there’s nothing more you need to do (other than market and sell it, of course). It continues to bring in income long after the hard work is done.
For instance, I have all of my books on Amazon. Since this site sells my writings 24 hours a day, my customers can purchase my books at any time they want. I don’t have to be there to sell them. I just collect my check every quarter and deposit it in the bank.
It’s a Good Product for DIY Customers
No matter how good you are or how affordable you’re priced, some people will not hire you. It’s nothing personal, but some people prefer to do things themselves. Sometimes it’s because they enjoy do-it-yourself projects. Other times they need to save some cash.
When you can refer these kinds of people to a book you’ve written, you’re able to help them through the process. They’ll also get to see how knowledgeable you are, making you their go-to businessperson when they have a problem that they’re unable to fix on their own.
It’s a Great Add-On to Your Current Packages
Some solopreneurs use their books to help sweeten the deal on their current packages. Whether they charge a little more or throw them in for free, their customers feel like they’re getting more value. It makes their package options more appealing.
A book that is used for this purpose doesn’t have to be super long either. Even a 10 to 20-page e-book can make your customers more willing to hit the buy button.
It Enables You to Leave a Legacy
Perhaps the best thing about authoring a book as a solopreneur is that it enables you to leave a legacy. It gives you the opportunity to teach others the things you know for generations to come.
Some of the most-read books today were penned by successful business authors who died years ago. Yet, we are still able to learn from them and read their words, all because they took the time to write them down.
How to Write Your Own Business Book
If you feel compelled to write your own book—increasing your credibility, adding another revenue stream, helping you reach DIY customers, giving you an add-on to your current package offerings, and enabling you to leave a legacy—your first question may be how to get it done.
First and foremost, if you don’t like to write or simply don’t have the time, you can always hire a ghostwriter. This is someone who writes the book for you and you put your name on it. I’ve ghostwritten books and articles for several professionals with nothing more than a link to their online notes or a copy of a seminar or training they offer. All of these can be easily turned into a book, which is great for solopreneurs who cringe at the idea of sitting down and writing.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind putting your own words in print, here is what the process looks like:
- Decide on your book’s topic. What do you want the book to be about? If you’re not sure, think about some of the most common questions you get from your customers. These are a good place to start.
- Create an outline. Once you have the topic, it’s time to decide all of the things you want in your book. Place them in an order that makes the most sense. For instance, you wouldn’t talk about baking a cake before you talked about mixing milk and eggs.
- Set a writing goal. Writing a book takes time. To keep moving toward a finished book, set a daily or weekly writing goal. This goal could be time-based (I will write 30 minutes a day) or it could be results-based (I will write at least 3 pages a day).
- Write without editing. The first draft is called a rough draft for a reason. The goal isn’t to create a finished product, it’s to get your words down on paper. The more you try to edit, the more you’ll likely get writer’s block. So, write without editing. You can clean it up later.
- Let the book sit. Once your book is drafted, the next step is to let it sit. Walk away from it for a while. This helps give you fresh eyes when you go back to it, making it easier to see if there is anything you’ve left out or if something should be changed.
- Edit, edit, edit. As a full-time writer, I can tell you that this step is where the magic happens. This is when a crappy draft is turned into a book that others actually want to read. If you do this step yourself, there are plenty of online tools that can help you create a better finished product. Grammarly is one that I use and it catches a lot of issues. (In case you’re wondering, I don’t get paid to promote them. Better yet, their base software is free to download!) That said, I don’t think any software is 100% accurate because I’ve found several times where it has missed an incorrect word. So, another option is to have someone else edit your book for you. Ideally, this should be someone who is familiar with your type of business so they understand the jargon and the needs of your readers. For example, I specialize in health and wellness content, so I edit a lot of books for professionals in this field. If you want to save cash, have a trusted family member, friend, or co-worker read it. They might at least catch something you’ve missed.
Writing a book isn’t fast and it isn’t easy. But taking the time to get your knowledge and expertise in print does have some distinct advantages. Advantages that could put you ahead of others in your field, making it more than worth the effort.