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Episode #11 Transcript: She loves it so much she can't stop working - How To Quit Working
Episode #11 Transcript: She loves it so much she can’t stop working

Episode #11 Transcript: She loves it so much she can’t stop working

Jeff Steinmann:  Hello, everyone. Welcome to the show. Today, we’re talking to Melissa Williams. Melissa is the owner of LongTale Publishing. She’s a speaker and an author of children’s books. And she has structured that business in a way that allows her to live life on her own terms. And the most important thing to her is literacy. And she’s had the time because of that business to found an organization called 3zero which is a literacy group that helps teach people how to read. And Melissa, thank you for joining us.

Melissa Williams:  Thank you for having me.

Jeff:  I’m so glad to have you here. I love talking to people such as yourself who have done such awesome things, who’ve built a life that allows them to do something that they love and that they’re passionate about. And what people don’t get is we don’t build lifestyle businesses so that we can lay on the beach. We build lifestyle businesses so that we can do things that we care about. Both in our business and in other ventures, such as your not-for-profit.

Melissa:  Yes, and it’s funny that you mentioned the beach. Because one of my series is actually about a professional surfing box shell turtle which forces me to go research in places like Hawaii and Australia.

Jeff:  What a rough job. What a rough job.

Melissa:  I know.

Jeff:  That’s so cool. I have to share this really funny story. A friend of mine and I are getting involved in the secret shopper thing.

Melissa:  Oh.

Jeff:  So, basically what this means is we’re involved in this organization. And they pay for us to go to places and buy things or do things, and then report back on the service that we got and things. So, one of these instance is for a steak house. And they said that – they laid out the requirements. And they very specifically said, “You must order steak. You must go to the bar and order a drink.” And I’m like, “Wow. Those are some really tough requirements.”

Melissa:  Right. Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I can do this.

Jeff:  Yeah, exactly. So just like you having to go to the beach to research these turtles. That’s so cool.

Melissa:  Yeah.

Jeff:  Yeah. Well, tell us a little bit about your business and your publishing company.

Melissa:  All right. Well, LongTale Publishing, I started back in 2007. And the reason for starting our business kind of came about from researching the publishing industry. And researching what writers go through when it comes to either submitting their work to a big publisher and through an agent and what the industry is all about.

And by going to many of these conferences, I found the industry very fascinating and a little bit intimidating, honestly. And it’s just – I am my father’s daughter. That’s for sure, when it comes to business. And he raised me with an entrepreneurial spirit. So I never really saw myself being permanently in a job where others decided what I do. It just doesn’t go with my personality style. I’m sure my parents could have told you that from when I was  five years old.

So, I’ve always been a free thinker. Always creative. Wanting to create. And a visionary. And I feel that people that build businesses, they envision the success of the business. They envision what is going to happen. So for me, I mean, the publishing world is kind of like the music industry. You submit yourself for years and years and years. And it’s almost a waste of time to me. When you have something tangible that for me, getting my books into the hands of kids, having these messages of acceptance in diversity, that my Iggy the Iguana series and Turtle Town series, they all represent.

Due to my other background which is Psychology in Education, I wanted to get all of the stuff into the hands of kids. And the best way to do it was for me to build it from scratch. So, I started LongTale Publishing in ’07. And I’d already been writing for my whole life. I mean, that was just a passion of mine. Kind of a hobby, whatever you want to call it. And I just wanted to see where I could go with it. And if this was really meant to be a business. So, I was still in the counseling world doing counseling. I finished a master’s degree in Professional Counseling, actually. And I was doing some work inside the schools on the side with the first book that my company ended up publishing. And that was the Iggy the Iguana.

And again, another passion of mine is public speaking. I love getting to be in front of people and teach them and share with them. And that was another goal. I mean, my whole life, I feel – even when I was a teenager, I would go to conferences and just watch authors talk about their books. And I would look at that. I’m like, “That is going to be me one day.” I want to share something with others.

So, I built all of this so that I can end up doing that. And I guess the signs were there because I started speaking in the schools and through a recommendation, one school visit in Houston ISD one afternoon turned into 20 inquiries the next week. So word of mouth, I mean, it was one of those wildfire situations. I had no idea that this was even going to happen. And then, recommendation after recommendation. And then, here we are today. Five books later, stuffed animals, creative writing workshops, creative writing summer camps, helping other authors publish, starting a literacy non-profit. I mean, the list goes on. Public speaking at conferences. And it’s been since 2007, so on a fairly short amount of time.

Jeff:  Yeah. Definitely. That’s so cool. Does your company – does LongTale Publishing publish for other people, or do you just teach people how to publish or you do both?

Melissa:  What we’re doing right now, just because I was spending so much time getting my books out there, I do a lot of consulting with other authors. And act as kind of a middle man. I guide them in the direction on what organizations and other print businesses, distribution channels to use, if they want to do this kind of the same way I did and do it on their own. How to query publishers. How to go through that process as well. I am working on a project right now with one author where I will end up bringing on a few new authors into LongTale Publishing. It’s a slow but sure process, and I’ve done that intentionally.

Jeff:  Yeah, you got to bring the right people on, right?

Melissa:  Yeah. I mean, it’s like that with – it doesn’t matter how small your publishing company is. You want all of the work that you represent to kind of be a little – it needs to be similar. It needs to have a theme so all of my books are about acceptance and diversity.

And I use animal characters to represent the diversity among people. I mean, it’s a very fun concept because kids love animals. So I’m not going to have books about creepy, horror situations. That’s just not what my publishing company produces. So I have to be picky. And that’s just pretty normal across the board.

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But another piece to all of this, and this is probably another reason why I haven’t worked with that many adults that write children’s books yet, is because READ3Zero, we have a short story contest for kids in the 3rd through 12th grade to submit short stories, poetry and art work. And we produce a 50-story anthology in hard back every year. LongTale Publishing produces the book. READ3Zero funds the project. And that’s kind of been this other thing that I’m doing on the side but through a literacy foundation.

Jeff:  Oh, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. So, the thing that I’m hearing is that you’re pretty passionate about entrepreneurship. You obviously love books and everything about books. You love children and psychology and the literacy aspect and how reading affects all of that. And that’s just, your whole entire life has just wound up into that.

Melissa:  And everything that I am passionate about is now my job.

Jeff:  So is there a point in the day when you say, “Oh, I’m done working now.”

Melissa:  Never ever. And it’s funny that we’re having this conversation this month. Because this is probably one of my busiest months for some strange reason. I have not – and this is the other side of being an entrepreneur – I have not had a day off I believe in 32 days including Sundays.

So, if that’s me travelling on the weekend to get to somewhere for work, setting up what I need to do, or if it’s making a public appearance at a charity event, something work related has happened every single day for over a month for me. And it gets a little stressful, I have to admit, because I’m lacking sleep sometimes.

But I can’t complain because on April 3rd, I’m taking a research trip to Australia for an entire month for the third book in the Turtle Town series which is again, going to be work. Because I’m going to be interviewing people, travelling, go, go, go. But hey, this is life. Like, I’m getting to live life right now. So I’m not going to complain about not even having Sunday off.

Jeff:  That is awesome. That’s awesome. And my life is similar. I don’t think I’m – I don’t have quite as crazy of a schedule as you do but the one thing that I’ve noticed is that, this has been – the first part of this year has been incredibly busy for me because I’m launching a new brand, I have this book coming out. Just tons of stuff going on. But it’s actually – I’m so excited about everything that I’m doing that I’ve actually been working a lot.

And I’ve found that, I still – even though I love everything that I’m doing and I’m so excited and so passionate about it – I still have to make sure that I’m balancing that. And it helps to make sure that I’m doing the right things for myself. And how do you kind of work that aspect of it? How do you make sure that you’re getting your needs met in terms of sleep and down time and all that kind of stuff?

Melissa:  The first step in that, and now I feel like I’m going counseling on us right now, but it’s awareness. It is the awareness of the fact that I may be stressed out. And I need to look into my calendar and figure out what day I am going to literally schedule and you’re not going to allow meeting to happen right now. You’re just going to say no during this section of this day, you just have to say no. And just planning and preparing for that.

 

Because you know your life is this way. So I can’t be my best self for even the kids that I go and speak in front of, if I am extremely stressed. And it has affected my speaking style. I feel whenever I don’t allow myself to have a little bit of downtime. So, awareness. It really is. It’s just the awareness and next week finally, I have scheduled days where things just cannot be the way that they have been for the past 30, you know.

Jeff:  Well, and the beautiful thing is when you have your own business and you structured it the way you have, you can just make those decisions and you can make that stuff happen.

Melissa:  Yes.

Jeff:  Now, do you work primarily out of your home, or do you have an office?

Melissa:  I would say I do half and half. I love in the morning, that being my creative time. Because I’m writing a book right now, the second book in Turtle Town, which takes places across the Hawaiian Islands. I am finishing up that, that first draft of that book so that we can start going into the editing zone.

And in order to go there, I can’t be checking my email first thing in the morning. I can’t be getting on social media. All these things that are a part of my daily routine. I need to go straight into the creative zone, grab a cup of coffee, and work on Turtle Town for an hour. And then, I’ll check email.

And then, I may go to the office. And the office where I work is combined with the few other businesses, so I don’t have any alone time anymore. And my assistant, she works there, too. So we’re working on all these different projects and following up on this and this and then dealing with things that I have to do as a business owner like payroll, and make sure that my taxes are taken cared of for that month, and things like that.

So there’s all these different sides to what I do. So if I’m going to be creative, I need to be by myself. I need to work from home. I can’t answer the phone. I can’t let anybody tap into that world, or I’m just going to be wasting my own time.

Jeff:  Yeah. Sure, sure. Well so, tell us a little bit about what did you do before this – before you started LongTale Publishing, and before you got into all of those?

Melissa:  So, going back, right before LongTale Publishing, I was in graduate school for Professional Counseling and I was substitute teaching on the side. So, I did that and I learned a lot about my target audience during that time. Now through the program that I was in, I had to start working my practicum hours. So I then also worked at a psychiatric hospital. And counseled in the trauma units. And did that for a while.

And then moved on to – once I graduated with that degree, moved to Austin and started working at a small private counseling center. So that’s what I did right before this. Before that, I was still – I mean, it would have been graduate school, college. Before all of this, I was a make-up artist and a voice-over actress for anime films.

So, I’ve had all different kinds of interesting careers but education has been a constant in my life. So conferences for the writing, for the publishing, for the psychology, for everything that I was specialized in, at that time, all those happening all at the same time. I don’t even know how all of it even – how it all happened, now that I look back.

Jeff:  Yeah, yeah. At what point did you say, “I’m done with all this. I want to start my own business that I can live life on my own terms, and do something that I really care about”?

Melissa:  When the signs were there. So, for me, working at that private counseling center, I had to bring on my own clients. I still had to do all my supervision. There was a lot of stuff that I still had to do with the finalizing of that license. And it was very slow. It was a very slow process. But also, I think that my heart wasn’t there. I’ve gotten into the counseling world with the purpose of wanting to write non-fiction about those types of situations later in the life. Not necessarily self-help books, but more of an inspirational type books for people. So, I went into counseling to do that.

But that wasn’t my end goal. My end goal was not to be sitting across from one clients everyday. My goal is to be able to talk to more people. So, as I’m doing the school visits on the side after the book came out in 2008, I was able to counsel students through these characters’ lives. And talk about empathy components and diversity and bullying and all these things that were inside the first book and it’s just – it clicked. And I was good at it. And I felt like I was good at it. It was just so natural where there are things that I’ve done in the past where I was just like, this is not my passion. This is not really what I’m the best at doing. And I felt it was just a stepping stone.

Jeff:  Okay. That’s awesome. So, what was some of the challenges that you faced as you started to try to kind of get your own business still up and running?

Melissa:  Well, for any business, your initial investment of funds is always going to be your first thing to get you off the ground. And I was lucky to have someone in my life invest in the starting of my business. So that was helpful for me.

Now, as I was going through the beginning stages of starting a business, I was going to class that’s about different aspects of the business world and a big thing that just kept being told to all of us in these classes was to have a personal relationship with a very small bank. And I agree with that so much. You want to have someone with a financial net there for you in case you need it for loans to start business.

But they need to know what you’re up to. They need to know your goals, your vision, your business plan, your future goals. So that when you’re ready, they will help you out. So I mean, that’s a big deal for anybody that wants to start a business that doesn’t have a huge foundation of savings that they’re going to put into it.

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Jeff:  Okay. Great, great tip. What were some mistakes that you made along the way?

Melissa:  In the publishing industry, there are mini-industry standards. And you can’t learn all of them just from going to conferences and hearing from people. There are so many that eventually you’re going to make a few of those mistakes. And I would say, I was trying to save some money, and I was having either myself be responsible for certain things like deciding on the way my book cover was going to look. And not having the professionals in the industry really, really take care of things that I now have book professionals take care of that would require for me.

So, when you’ll try – and this is what I’ve found, in industries where it’s very creative. If you’re trying to save money, you eventually are going to just be wasting that money when you try to fix things later. Because you want everything to stand next to a big publisher’s product. So, I wouldn’t call that a mistake though, because I just wasn’t ready maybe during that time. So, it’s just things – your industry, it’s very specific, the mistakes that you can make in your industry, I feel.

Jeff:  That’s very, very true. When I got the first proof back of my book, I looked through it, and I was like, “Oh, God.” So glad I got the proof because there was a couple of things in it, actually it was the spacing of the headings that was like, “This isn’t right.” And I couldn’t put my finger on it. And I couldn’t figure out what was not right until I held it up next to a couple of big published books. I’m like, “Oh, okay. Now, I see.” And I was able to get those things adjusted.

So, it’s so true, and in fact, one of my favorite books on publishing is Guy Kawasaki’s book called APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. And he talks about – there’s a whole chapter I think, on how to avoid that self published look. And a lot of really good stuff in there.

In fact, well, you probably know that there’s a standards of what side of the book the even numbers are on, and what side of the odd numbers on, right? The right hand side is always odd. Something that you never, ever will think about. Unless you were actually researching the industry.

Melissa:  Exactly. And I mean, whenever I’m doing consulting with authors, that do you want to go into the indie publishing, let’s call it. The whole self publishing still has this negative connotation.

Jeff:  Yeah, we got to hear a lot of those words.

Melissa:  So many, I mean, let’s just face it. Bad pieces of work out there.

Jeff:  It kind of deserves the negative name that it has, yeah.

Melissa:  But I tell people, it’s like, “You’re the author. But you’re also the creator who has the vision but you can’t be the story critiquer. The editor. The copy editor. The graphic designer. The illustrator. And publish the book, too. You can’t do all of that because let’s get real here. Let’s pick the two things that you’re the best at. Because scattering your skill over that whole board, it’s going to be obvious that it was a self published book. So.

Jeff:  Yes. Such great advice for anybody publishing a book. One of the things I always advice clients is, “You have got to spend some money.” “You can’t afford free.” is one of the things that I actually say a lot.

Melissa:  Yeah, I am not a believer in free work, honestly.  I am involved in so many different networks where we all help each other out. Some person will refer you, and bring in business. All that. That’s free work. But we all appreciate it. And what goes around, comes around. But literally free? No. Because that means I’m going to get free quality.

Jeff:  Exactly. Exactly. Well then so, this is fascinating. We’re talking about the whole – some of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. But these things that we’re talking about, great lessons. But they’re all learnable.

But what I truly think is the biggest challenge in publishing is marketing, right? I mean, that’s the most important thing. There are people who market and sell a lot of really, really, shitty books. No questions about it. Which proves to me that it’s all about the marketing. So now they don’t sell as many additional books, but they sell a lot of them initially if they do the marketing well. So, how do you take these awesome books that you’re creating, and how do you get the word out and get them in the hands of the children who want to read them?

Melissa:  So, I’m doing something that is opposite I feel of what our society is so used to. Our society is very used to all the social media. And I do all that. I mean, that’s for sure. All the social media, all the beam behind the computers, marketing and marketing in that way, I’m a believer, and people knowing who you are because they see your face. And they have shaken your hands. And they have been in a room and heard you on a microphone.

And that, I love. I love that so much more than all the computer stuff. Because as I guess, I’m still old school or something, who knows? But I know. It’s great to make those connections. And it’s those connections that have literally carried me in this business. Do I have to have all the other stuff? Well, yeah. Or I’m not going to be legit. I mean, you have to have all that stuff. But I don’t rely on that. It’s 50-50, literally.

And the same is true. It’s all about who you know. It’s all about the connections you’ve made. And that’s just the way this world is. So, if you don’t ever go out and make real connections, and real ones, not just meeting someone one time and giving them your business card. That just does not work. You need to make real connections.

Jeff:  When I go to networking conferences, I’ve actually philosophized about networking with people and I break all the rules in that I might sit and have a 15-minute conversation with somebody. When the general rule is, well now, you should be moving on, just passing out those business cards. And I have no desire whatsoever, like a carpet bomb a roomful of people with business cards.

Melissa:  Oh, me neither.

Jeff:  And then expect that to do something. And you really got it going, you’re really going in the right direction because you’ve got that. That old school – I call it the old school hustle.

Melissa:  Ooh, yeah. Let’s call it that.

Jeff:  Yeah, and then you’re combining that with social media and I think that is when it gets incredibly powerful.

Melissa:  Right.

Jeff:  Because those people there, they’re like, “Oh, this is Melissa. She’s really cool. I’m going to connect with her on Facebook.” And then, they’re seeing stuff from you on a regular basis and you just got the best of both worlds, and you got. That’s the way it’s going. That’s the way it has to be these days.

Melissa:  And I eventually had to branch out  and it’s again, I can’t do all these myself anymore so I have a P.R. company and a publicist working for me on both of those things.

So, when I say social media, I mean, I have a Facebook page for every organization, every character, main character that I’ve created. Twitter for Little Miss Molly. Twitter for Turtle Town Books. Youtube channels. I have six websites. I mean, I’m definitely all over the internet.

And then, if you Google me, hundreds of pages will come up because so much time was spent into making sure that I was searchable when interviews happen, when articles were released just through over the years. So, I planted the seeds because I learned about the marketing. I didn’t learn about it after the fact. I mean, I continue to learn. But I do love the research beforehand. Just to be prepared.

I remember I went to a social media workshop, there are 20 of us in this thing and the publicist who had given it at the time, she was like, “I want to tell all of you to go home and get your name on Twitter. Twitter in six months is going to blow up and everyone who is famous will have one.” And we’re like, “Twitter? What’s Twitter?”  This was back in 2009. Okay, fine. We go to Twitter, this website is barely existent, by my name, like clockwork. Six months later, everyone who was famous or in the social scene, knew about Twitter. And then a year later, everybody’s on Twitter. This is insane.

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So, but then, going back to the P.R. company, they are tweeting for me everyday on Hoot tweets and HootSuite. And they are doing all of my social media and then they’re setting up interviews because they have connections with the right people, too, so.

 

Jeff:  Yeah, that’s awesome. So you’ve had a good experience with your P.R. company?

Melissa:  Absolutely, yes. Medley is the name. They’re a Houston-based P.R. company. And the great thing for me is I’m their only author. I used to be with a P.R. company back when I first started and all they did were authors. Which doesn’t help an author. You’re like in a friction with all their other clients, for time and for attention. Because after a while, the news doesn’t want to talk about authors every single day. So it’s very helpful to be with someone that represents all different types of people and organizations.

Jeff:  Very cool. Now, you mentioned that you do media interviews. Can you talk a little bit about how you’ve done that? How you’ve gotten yourself in front of the media? And how that’s working for you?

Melissa:  So, the way – my publicist is actually small, the way that she does that, is first of all, she’s got all the connections because she’s been in the industry for a while. But what you do is you pitch to them, a story that could be interesting to viewers at home from the news.

So if for me, there’s going to be a lot of different topics that I could talk about. Like for instance today, I ended up talking about ways this spring break to get your teams to unplug from their electronics, basically. And went into the literacy and the brain storming notebooks and the being aware of your surroundings and living your life and experiencing things that you can remember instead of just being behind the screen. So the story was pitched because this is something of interest to everyone right now. And I’m knowledgeable enough to actually talk about it.

So, that worked for me and I was able to talk a little bit about READ3Zero, things like that. So, it’s really going to be making sure that you’re pitching things that are usable and maybe you do have a big event coming up and with me having a non-profit. Everybody’s interested in non-profits and literacy and opportunities for kids to shine. I mean, that’s just something that’s natural for all of us to be positive and happy about.

So, by having something like that behind me has also helped me. I’m not just a business person. I’m actually – my passion, I’m actually putting it into the community, too. So of course, the news is going to be a little bit more receptive to that as opposed to me just knocking at their door, “Let me talk to you about my business.” I never talk to them about my business unless it gets brought up in the conversation.

So, there’s a smart way to address these things. And you, just like a writer, we have to put ourselves in the shoes of our audience. So for a person that wants to be on the news, you need to now put yourselves in the shoes of those news anchors and that news station. What do they want? They want viewers. They want viewers who say, “Oh, I love what this station puts up all the time. It’s so relevant to what’s happening today. I’m going to keep watching this station only.” So, just thinking outside the box.

Jeff:  Yeah, and I think that’s the biggest mistake that folks make, not only with pitching the media but with just their marketing in general, because they’re thinking way too much about themselves and way too little about the other person who’s receiving the information.

Melissa:  Oh, yes.

Jeff:  So, one other question. We talked a little bit about this before when we started the interview. And you’ve structured this life around something that you’d love. You do it on your own terms. How does that affect your personal life?

 

Melissa:  So, yeah, there’s two side to that. I have to say, it makes my personal life trickle in to my business life. And it makes it really exciting because so many of the people that I’m good friends with are in really industries, and that’s why we all click. And now, we all have built friendships, and we all really respect what each other are doing. And if my friend who is a professional artist, if I have an opportunity to send work their way, they’re the first person that I want to send work to. Because I love them. But I get to have fun conversations with people who are like-minded.

So, being in this industry, I’ve been able to meet so many people that I really, really enjoy, and build great friendships with. But then, there’s the other side. And we all get each other because we all are this way but it’s go, go, go, go, go. You have a day where you feel absolutely just overwhelmed and crazy because there’s so much going on. And then, for me, I’m not married and I don’t have kids. And people ask sometimes, “How do you do all these things that you do in such a short amount of time?” I tell them, I’m like, “Well, I don’t have – I’m not putting focus into other parts of my life right now.”

And that’s my decision. I am so fulfilled right now at this point in my life to be doing it this way. I don’t see myself being able to do a few of the things that I do if I needed to devote more time to someone else that doesn’t have to do with my business. But that’s my decision. And I’ve made that decision for myself.

I have to remind people that think, “Oh, but don’t you want to do this?” I’m like, “No. That’s – maybe eventually. I don’t know.” I mean, I don’t even know if I will have kids. I spend so much time with kids. And I love them so much, I’m so passionate about changing the wave of the future, this is my thing right now. That I don’t know if I’m going to be interested later to have kids. I’m at a time in my life where I’m going to have to make these decisions.

So, it’s just life. Our lives are beautiful. They’ve been handed to us in a way, and we get to mold them into what we’ve envisioned and then you also remain a little bit of flexible in case there’s something else that’s thrown your way. But yeah, it’s hard to give a decent amount of time to just one person, let’s just say that.

Jeff:  Yeah, because you’re just so focused on something that you love. And again, it’s on your terms. That’s so cool. What’s the biggest piece of advice before we wrap up that you would give to somebody who wants to do this for themselves?

Melissa:  I would say, prepare yourselves. Don’t go into anything blindly. So, for me I had mentors. I sought out people who were either authors or entrepreneurs and had conversations with them. I want to know the good, bad and the ugly. And I don’t want to feel naïve to things.

So, preparing yourself for the industry that you’re really, really passionate about. And if that means going to conferences – I mean, here in Houston, we have the University of Houston’s small business center and they’re brilliant. Because they have all of these classes that focus specifically on what entrepreneurs and business people need to know. To not make mistakes with taxes, with the government, with running your business into the ground. I mean, they say,  most businesses fail within the first three to five years because people just don’t know how to plan their financial situation around the business. So, prepare yourself.

Jeff:  Sure. Of all the people that I’ve talked to, you’re more on the kind of methodical, plan it out, get all the information upfront first kind of a side. Because a lot of people take that – and I don’t think there’s a right or wrong approach. And I’m really glad that you’ve given us this perspective. Because for some people, this is more right. But you’ve done – it seems like you’ve done much more upfront preparing and thinking things through and I think that’s awesome and that’s been probably a huge key to your success.

Melissa:  Yes, thank you. It has been helpful to do it that way, I feel. And I would again, recommend it to anybody to think before you move. I mean, don’t let this planning process hold you back to not ever start. Let them merge together, so.

Jeff:  Sure. Well, before we go, Melissa, can you tell us where are listeners can go to get more information about you and your not-for-profit? And if they want to do something or help out your not-for-profit, how might they do that?

Melissa:  Yes, that would be wonderful. So, actually, READ3Zero, we are doing our big fund-raiser campaign right now. And it’s on the Facebook page, which is just facebook.com/read3zero and what we’re doing is, we’re raising money through this campaign. It’s really easy to donate online to send our published authors that we publish every year into other entitled ones schools and they get to do author visits with me, and read their story. And I interview them in front of all these kids. And they become public speakers with me.

And then, we give out free I Write anthologies to those students that got to participate in the school visit. So this is kids inspiring other kids which I just – I love. And it gives them an opportunity to be leaders in their community, too. So, that’s the Facebook page for READ3zero.

And then of course, we have our website which is read3zero.org. So, that would be the literacy foundation. And then, the easiest way to connect with me – and I mean, like I said, I probably have 15 different websites and social media, tweets – would be to go straight to my author website because that is going to link to all the other websites, social media, everything. And that’s going to be melissamwilliamsauthor.com.

Jeff:  Melissamwilliamsauthor.com. We’ll link all of this up below the show. And what’s the most recent book that you’ve published?

Melissa:  The most recent was the Little Miss Molly picture book, which has actually been my first picture book because I’ve been very heavy-focused on the older readers and chapter books for upper elementary. But Little Miss Molly is for the three- to six-year old, three- to eight-year old reader, it’s a super girly picture book about this little lizard who is obsessed with the color pink and she wants to be a princess. So the girls love these types of stories that are really girly.

Jeff:  That sounds like a blast. So, we’ll put all those below. If you want more information about Melissa, check out read3zero.org, go to her Facebook page for read3zero which is facebook.com/read3zero. Really interesting, really easy to donate to her project about kids inspiring kids.

You can also go to her author page at melissamwilliamsauthor.com and check out her newest book, Little Miss Molly picture book which is a girly pink picture book, and the little girls will love it, if you’ve got one of those in your life.

Melissa, thank you so much for being with us today. I really appreciate it. I’ve had a blast talking to you. And I had a blast getting your perspective on this because you’re bringing a little bit different perspective to this and I love it. That’s what I want is this many perspective as is possible. So thank you so much for your time. I wish you the best of luck with everything. And stay in touch and let me know how things are going with you.

Melissa:  Yes, that would be great. Thank you so much for having me. I enjoyed it as well.

Jeff:  Thanks, Melissa.

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About Jeff Steinmann

Jeff wants to help you Live More. He is the author of How to Quit Working, A Simple Plan to Quit Your Job for a Life of Freedom. He hosts a weekly show called The How to Quit Working Show that features lessons from Freedom Fanatics who quit their soul-sucking 9-5 job and created a business that lets them live a passionate life of freedom. Jeff also writes for several media outlets, including The Huffington Post, Lifehack and Elite Daily. Most of all, Jeff is a Freedom Fanatic, fiercely devoted to finding a better way to “do life”.

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