Interview With Megan Close Zavala

Interview Female Entrepreneur l Paperbeau.nl

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?

I provide book coaching and editorial services to authors ready to take their writing to the next level and make their publishing dreams into realities.  Just like people work with health/fitness or relationship coaches, my clients come to me to help them get a book project into as good a shape as possible.  We work together to identify their writing blocks and put together a roadmap to get over those hurdles and to the finish line.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?

I’m certainly not the first book coach in the world, but I had my own circuitous path that led me here.  After working in the entertainment industry for several years I became a literary agent.  I love working with clients that way, but I found that I could only afford to help authors who were 100% ready to be published, as agenting is 100% commission-based.  In speaking at conferences across the country, I saw that there was a large audience at earlier stages on their writing journeys, and I felt called to help those folks.

WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?

As I mentioned above, I worked in the entertainment industry – which had its perks for sure, but ultimately ended up being the wrong field for me – and as an editorial assistant and literary agent.  I’ve also edited/evaluated/reviewed/selected/rejected book and script projects on a freelance basis for close to 15 years. This is my first “official” business.

WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  You’re starting this business because you have a zone of genius, something that you excel at – editing, coaching, crafting, whatever.  There are tasks that are often not in that zone of genius – website design, copywriting, accounting – and if at all possible you should hire someone to help you in the areas in which you struggle.  Yes, it costs money, but it is worth it so that the tasks get completed and you don’t get burned out. And also, if you are asking people to invest in themselves by hiring you, you should be doing the same.

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MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW I DEALT WITH IT:

Getting past a scarcity mentality (there are so many people doing this, how can I make my mark?) and starting my business while I was six months pregnant and growing it while also being a stay-at-home mom to an infant!  Again, it comes down to asking for help and not beating myself up.

MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:

Seeing how finally writing a book has changed my clients’ lives in ways no one expected.  It’s exciting to see someone’s name in print or get an acknowledgement, but I have seen people become happier, healthier and more confident by going through this process.

HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:

I have to accept that there are some days when I am going to be “better” at certain roles in my life than others.  That doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore my child or my clients, but there are going to be days when I feel like wonder mom and days when I feel like wonder coach and I have to be okay with that.  Entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, are ready to beat themselves up every step of the way, and we need to move past that!

I AM INSPIRED BY:

My clients and their stories.
I learn from them as much (or likely more) than they learn from me.

WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:

I get to read for a living!  I get to surround myself with language and stories every day, and that’s such a privilege!  It also allows a lot of flexibility – I can do it from anywhere in the world, as long as there is an internet connection!

HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:

I do a lot of mindset work – I’ve been really influenced by people like Denise Duffield-Thomas and work really hard to get past negative and limiting beliefs that I have.  I try to practice gratitude in my daily life. And, business-wise, I make sure that I have the best tools possible to serve my clients and grow my business – a nice computer, good systems, etc.  

DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?

I did not write a formal business plan, but I have since wished I had.  I think entrepreneurs/business owners should take every opportunity possible to really take a look at their business and identify who their target client/customer is, how to niche things down, etc.

ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMEN BUSINESS OWNER?

Disadvantages are the aforementioned compulsion to beating oneself up and taking too much on, taking things personally (though that’s not specifically a female trait), and being afraid to ask for help.  In a lot of industries, it seems as if women have to work twice as hard to be respected, and I think some of that mindset trickles over into entrepreneurship as well. Advantages – tenacity and ability to multitask.

Interview Female Entrepreneur l Paperbeau.nl

MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…

My Macbook and iPhone.  And I love ConvertKit, Zoom, Canva – there are so many great tools out there (some free!) that make this business journey so much more bearable.

THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…

Think long-term, identify your dream customer and serve them, and tomorrow is another day!

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