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Episode 30 Transcript: How to Become an Author - Sheri Fink on how she left her job to become an author - How To Quit Working
Episode 30 Transcript: How to Become an Author – Sheri Fink on how she left her job to become an author

Episode 30 Transcript: How to Become an Author – Sheri Fink on how she left her job to become an author

Jeff Steinmann:  Hello, and welcome to the How to Quit Working show. Today, we’re going to be talking to Sheri Fink. Now, Sheri left a corporate job doing online marketing. She’s left to do her own thing and that ended up being writing children’s books. She’s going to tell us all about that journey and how she has gotten to have actually a best seller before it’s even available, that’s The Little Seahorse.

She’s also going to talk about The Little Rose, and she’s going to talk about everything that she did and how she got her mind in a right place to be immensely successful as a children’s author which is very competitive and a difficult market to get into. Sheri, welcome to the show.

Sheri Fink:  Thank you, Jeff. It’s a pleasure to be here today.

Jeff:  Well, I’m glad to have you here because we’ve had a couple of authors on lately, and it’s really cool to see what authors are doing. But before we start talking about that, you haven’t always been a full time author making money. Now, you were working in a corporate world until 2010, right?

Sheri:  That’s right.

Jeff:  Yeah, well tell us about what you did there and how did you decide that you were going to get rid of that life that you didn’t like. Well, I assume you didn’t like it since you… (laughs) since you’re doing something different, and start your own business doing something that you really love.

Sheri:  Well, I want to start by saying the reason I went in to the field I did, I was in online marketing for over 12 years in the corporate world. When I grew up, I grew up very humbly, just above the poverty level. And I’ve decided early on that I didn’t want to live with that struggle. My parents worked very, very hard and we always had food. But we didn’t have money for other things. It really affected me on that level and I thought, well, the only way I know out of this is do academics, like, to do really well in school.

So I was focused and prepared, and I did really well. I ended up being the first person in my family to go to college, first person to get a masters, working the whole time. And I thought, well now, the measure of success, to me the money, it was title, it was perks, being “important” (laughs) in the company so I really went after that, I pursued that. For 12 years, I kept thinking, I was good in online marketing. I enjoyed it. I was rewarded heavily for it. I kept getting promoted.

And then, I would find a little something within myself that was like, “I don’t know about this.” And I think, well, when I get to the next company, it will be different. When I get the next job level, that will be different. The next promotion. And so, I found myself, I worked my way up pretty high in the organization I really liked. And I still wasn’t feeling fulfilled.

So, I made an exit strategy that one year from that date, I would no longer be working in that company. When I did that, I thought that I’d be working for somebody else. Get more doing consulting, doing the online marketing that I had done for big brands but for doing it for small businesses. So, that’s what I did. And of course, I thought I will leave before the one-year mark. (laughs) But then, I kept doing that thing where, you know, when you care a lot about the company and the people and the job, it’s like, well, let me just see this client through this event. Probably until I get this deal finished. Let me get them in a good position to do X, Y, Z.

And so, before I knew it, it was like, two weeks before my deadline and I just took a bold action and turned it in. People thought I was crazy. I mean, at that time, I didn’t even know I was going to be writing. I really thought I would be doing something different from that. And so, I turned it in. I kind of had that two-week honeymoon phase where it’s like, no new projects are flowing in. All kinds of things are flowing out, it was awful. (laughs)

Jeff:  (laughs) Transition.

Sheri:  It’s like, “Oh. Now, what?”

Jeff:  Yeah. Yeah.

Sheri:  Well, a week after I left my corporate job, I went to Jack Canfield’s Breakthrough to Success conference. Jack is the co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul and the author of The Success Principles. He’s just a wonderful person.

Jeff:  He’s one of my favorites, yeah.

Sheri:  Oh, he walks his talk. That’s one thing I really love about him. I learned so much.

Jeff:  The Success Principles is amazing. I think I’m actually going to link it up below the show because it was one of the needle movers for me early on.

Sheri:  Wow. Yeah. And that book, The Power of Focus.

Jeff:  I haven’t read that one.

Sheri:  It was the first one I read by him that – the first book that really spoke to me in the self-help world. That was the one.

Jeff:  Cool.

Sheri:  And that’s when I decided, one day, I’m going to meet this man. Just so I can shake his hand. (laughs)

Jeff:  Yeah.

Sheri:  So eight years later, (laughs) after reading the book, I went to the conference. I learned really valuable things like meditating and the power of having a really grand vision that’s bigger than you. So, I was on fire when I got back in. I created a journal based on what he was teaching, just so I keep myself on track. And then my Mastermind group was like, “Oh. I need that, too. You need to put that into a book format.”

So, I independently published just a couple of copies of this journal. I went to his advanced conference a few months later, and everybody wanted it. The very first person to buy it and asked me to autograph it had this random conversation about writing, and she was like, “What do you write?” And I told her, “Business and marketing, that kind of stuff.” And she’s like, “No, no, no, no. You have more.”

So I reluctantly shared with her that I had written this little story about a rose that grows up in the weedbed and thinks that she’s the weed. She’s really a beautiful rose. She felt out of place just because she was different. And she said, “I just got goosebumps. You have to do something with that because my grandchildren need that message.” And that’s when light bulb came on.

Jeff:  What’s the name of that book?

Sheri:  It’s called The Little Rose.

Jeff:  Can we get that on Amazon?

Sheri:  Absolutely.

Jeff:  All right. The Little Rose on Amazon. We’ll link that up. Go ahead.

Sheri:  Thank you. Yes. So, when I got back from that conference, I really – I mean, I was on fire. Even that night, that Jack has this thing called a “Come as you’ll be” party which is really powerful. Basically, the way it works is that you walk in the door that night as if all of your goals for the next five years have come through.

Jeff:  So cool.

Sheri:  Oh, yeah. And everybody plays along with you.

Jeff:  Yeah.

Sheri:  And so that morning, I got really brave. I ran down to the business center of the hotel. I mocked up a little cover. I didn’t know what to call the story so I just called it The Little Rose. And I taped the little mock up on to a book I had brought with me. I had also made a magazine cover with me on it which I felt really ridiculous carrying around but I was like, I’m like, I’m going to do this thing. I have a picture of me with Jack holding that magazine cover that I’d made and this little book that was like an afterthought.

Jeff:  Cool.

Sheri:  Within a year, my book had come out. It had become the number one best seller in Amazon. Completely changed my life. And I was on my first magazine cover.

Jeff:  Wow. Wow.

Sheri:  Very powerful.

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Jeff:  That is very powerful. Now what happened in that year that made that happen?

Sheri:  Well, when I got back from the conference, I was on fire. Like, I had no idea how to do a children’s book. I didn’t know anybody the time that I have done it so I just kept asking people, who do you know who’s a best-selling author? Who do you know who has written a children’s book? Who do you know who might know anything possible about this topic? And then, would you introduce me?

And when I was in my corporate career, I had done a lot of favors. I had connected a lot of people. I am a natural connector. I actually enjoy that, and helping people. So I had helped a ton of people and never asked for anything. So when it came to that when I was like, I have this dream, and I want to help kids with their self-esteem. And I have no idea what I’m doing. (laughs) I’m looking to learn. People are extremely willing to help me, to introduce me to their friends. I have called the people to find out how they did it. People were very generous with me, and I did everything that they said.

And I knew I needed to do it fast too because for one thing, I’m an entrepreneur by heart. Even as a kid, I was starting my own little businesses all the time and my family was like, what is with this kid? (laughs) Because no one in my family was ever like that. So, I just have this natural propensity for it. And I knew that if I went slow, I would chicken out. Had to have the momentum going.

So, within six months after that conference, I had independently published my book, and it was available in Amazon. And then within the first two weeks, it became a number one best seller.

Jeff:  Wow.

Sheri:  And then even more remarkably, it stayed at number one for over six weeks.

Jeff:  Wow.

Sheri:  Changed everything for me.

Jeff:  I bet. What was different about the way you were thinking and acting after that conference, when you had this vision?

Sheri:  It was so…even today, when I think about it, I can feel a pull. It was so…I want to say like glorious, like juicy. It had such a pull on me that it’s like I couldn’t not do it. My passion for getting this book out there, for getting the message to kids, be exactly who they are, to see that book in print, the pull of that was so strong that it dwarfed any of the fears that I would have let block me in the past.

Jeff:  Ah, so you wanted something more than you were afraid?

Sheri:  Yes. I was willing to do whatever it took. And believe me, it took a lot. It was hard to not know what you’re doing and to do things that people – well-meaning, intelligent, talented, successful people told me that I was crazy. They would pat me on the head and wanted me to adjust my expectations. Because I always wanted to be a best seller. I was like, if I’m going to do a book, I want it to be read. I don’t want to create it just to create it. That’s fun too, but I really want it to have an impact.

So when I talk to people, I would bravely say, even though my knees were knocking under the table, like, “I want to be a best-selling author. I want this book to have impact.” People would tell all kinds of things. Like, “Your first book isn’t going to be that successful,” “Children’s and book industries are very difficult.” And I just say, “Yeah. That’s what I hear.” Because I don’t really subscribe to that. I’m not a big fan of reality. Luckily, I don’t live in reality a lot. And so, magical things happen for me all the time. (laughs)

Jeff:  I love what you just said. You said you’re not a big fan of reality. (laughs) That is so cool. That is so cool. You just don’t participate in it. You don’t participate in that crap that it’s hard to get a children’s book out or that your first book is not going to be successful. You just decided not to participate. That’s none, and that’s for other people.

Sheri:  Yeah. I just choose to believe in the possibility that it could happen for me. And that’s really served me well. And like I said, it’s been challenging. I mean, I haven’t done it in my own. I had mentors. I had coaches. I have Mastermind groups. I have accountability partner. I have all these things that Jack recommends that I decided I would take on in my life so that I could keep propelling that vision forward and bring to life.

Jeff:  What else has made you able to be successful?

Sheri:  There’s that get along the way. And I think for me, the big first thing was getting the first fan mail.

Jeff:  Getting the first sale.

Sheri:  Fan mail.

Jeff:  Oh, I’m sorry. The first fan mail. Okay.

Sheri:  Yes. Yes. Even before – I mean, the sales are great but it’s when someone – when whatever you created, that touches someone’s heart to the point where they will take the time to send you a note about it especially if they’re 12 or under, it really means a lot. Even I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about it. The farthest I have heard from is Bali.

Jeff:  Oh, wow.

Sheri:  They’re beautiful letters. Kids are so smart. And they’re charming and they’re just – they get things on a deeper level than I think we realize most of the time. I mean, kids have sent me artwork. They’ve sent me little creations based on the books. Sometimes, they send me videos. It’s amazing. And even adults. Like, I have adult fans who like, one, I did a festival, and this woman came. And she had done a painting for me. She was so excited to meet me. She actually cried when she met me.

Jeff:  Wow.

Sheri:  And that had never happened to me before then. It was amazing. It gave me a glimpse of the real impact that your work can have in this world. And even mine, like mine’s through children’s books. I have four number 1 best sellers right now. And actually five because the new book comes out in March, and it already went number 1 six months before release.

Jeff:  How is that even possible?

Sheri:  It’s pre-orders.

Jeff:  So you’ve gone to number 1 just with pre-orders.

Sheri:  With pre-orders.

Jeff:  Wow.

Sheri:  Let me tell you, that was a fun call to make. When I called my mom and said, “Guess what?” (laughs) Something I never even thought that could happen has already happened! (laughs)

Jeff:  Yeah. So your success is like going beyond what you even thought was possible.

Sheri:  Oh, it’s enormous. And things happened like, the universe again like right after The Little Rose came out, I got contacted by a playwright in D.C. And he said, “Have you ever thought about adapting your book for the stage?” And I’m thinking that’s amazing but I have no idea how to do that. Like, I laughed. I almost fell out of my chair. (laughs) That’s something I’ve never considered.

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And he’s like, “Well, why don’t we partner on it so we can bring this message to kids all over north America? It will be amazing.” And so we worked on the play for a year. We finished it, and then it got picked up by a theater, the Vanguard Theatre in Martin, Tennessee. And it’s really a present for me right now because it’s debuting on December 5th and I’m going to be there along with my co-playwright, Leon Scioscia.

Jeff:  Oh my gosh. How cool.

Sheri:  The theatre just sent us pictures this morning from the first rehearsal last night.

Jeff:  Wow.

Sheri:  And I cried opening this picture because it’s incredible to think about something you created in a book format or just the words that you’ve written being performed on stage by someone else. And that’s something I never envisioned ever that I will be a playwright. And yet, here it is. It’s getting ready to be real. Like really real. (laughs)

Jeff:  Yeah. That’s going to be – how amazing is that going to be when you’re sitting there in the audience? I mean, I’m hoping you’re going to give me some pretty good seats. (laughs) But you’re going to be sitting there in the audience watching this thing that you created come to life. And I’m curious, are you going to be looking more at the stage or more at the audience?

Sheri:  I’m fortunate I get to go to two performances. I’m going to be there for both. One night and then the next night. So, I think I’ll probably do a little bit of both.

Jeff:  That’s awesome.

Sheri:  Yeah. I’m so excited. It just…I think it’s a testament to when your alignment with your passion and your purpose and you’re really showing up in the world like you’re really going for it, you’re not holding back.

Like, just the other day I had to learn is like, to be bold. To say what I really want. To not play it safe like, my old mode even in the corporate world where I was very successful, I used to play to avoid losing. I would take a risk. But I’d only take just enough risk that I knew I could still be successful.

This one, it’s like I’m catapulting out into the void, and I’m trusting. (laughs) Something’s going to happen, either there’s going to be a bridge or a net or some wings you’re going to sprout. Something’s going to happen and it’s scary. It’s really scary sometimes. But what I find is that when I take that bold action, the universe meets me there, and usually multiplies it for me.

Jeff:  What’s an example of something that you have done that is bold and that is in that character of taking that leap and trusting that the net or the bridge is going to show up?

Sheri:  I think definitely leaving the corporate job without having another thing lined up. I know some people would never do that. But it actually served me to create the space that I would need to create this book because otherwise, it wouldn’t have come. I know that for sure. And then, I think also telling people I’m going to be the best seller before I have any reason to believe that I would be. (laughs)

Jeff:  Yeah.

Sheri:  And then, I think to just being more authentic in my whole life. I have so much passion for what I’m doing in the world. I realized a while back, somewhat recently, that I didn’t have that in all areas of my life. And I really want to be in alignment with that so I made a really difficult choice, and I decided with the help of my husband at the time that I would move forward and that we would have a harmonious closure to our marriage. Because I mean, although we were good friends and we were still very amicable and it’s a positive thing for us, it just…I don’t know. I just felt like maybe there was more for both of us out there.

And so, we walked that path together, and I believe that that was the right choice but we had a very comfortable “safe life”. But for whatever reason, it hasn’t felt as authentic to me recently and so – like in the past few years. And so, we made that bold choice together to go different directions. That’s probably the – it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s also the most honest. And I’m trusting, I mean I basically – it depends on how you look at it but risking everything for love, right?

When I left the corporate world, I felt like I was risking everything then, too. But this is on a whole another level. So, I even moved. I moved to L.A., and I love it here. It’s just totally transforming my life. And I feel like at some state like I’m still in a cocoon. Butterfly metaphor like I feel like the cocoon is just about to open. (laughs) So, yeah.

Jeff:  When you say you feel like you’re still in a cocoon, do you mean like in certain aspects of your life?

Sheri:  I feel like we are just at the beginning of this. Not just in my personal life but also in my career. Because so much has happened in the past three years, and it’s incredible that it’s only been three years. Like, we were coming up on the three anniversary of me deciding to do the book. It didn’t even get published until March 2011.

So, and I feel a lot of momentum happening now with the new book doing well already and the play coming out. I want to do merchandise and toys. I want to invent a board game. There’s a lot happening. I feel like I’m just getting to the point where I’m really embracing that it could be global. It is. I want to take it at a whole another level. I want to impact kids all over the world. And a lot of that is doing it in their own native language.

So, that’s opening up a whole another avenue for me with the books and with the message. I’m doing a lot more live experiences for kids. I’m just excited to see how that evolves because I want to make it – I want to make reading and literacy and books as fun as concerts for kids.

Jeff:  Oh, wow. Cool.

Sheri:  Like, to really set this thing on fire. And I get people really fired up about reading and writing and just being who they are authentically in the world.

Jeff:  That’s amazing. Why for you, Sheri, is it children’s books instead of adult self-help or adult fiction or selling popsicles?

Sheri:  (laughs) You know, it’s a really great question. I have no idea. I honestly…it found me. And it was almost by accident. But when I looked back in my childhood, I was always writing. As a kid, I was making my own books a long time ago. Like even cutting the cardboard off the cereal boxes and making fabric and gluing everything together. Fortunately, my parents saved those books and I have them now.

Jeff:  Wow. That’s so cool.

Sheri:  Yeah. They’re all in like 70’s fabrics, too. (laughs) It’s hilarious. But yeah, I was doing that, creating my own little worlds and everything as a kid. And then, I lost touched with it when I striving and working so hard in school and trying to get the grades. And then, trying to do well in the corporate world, I just didn’t go to that for a long time but then it came through me.

I’m not just inspired to do children’s books. I mean, that’s a big passion of mine, and I’m going to continue to do them but right now, I’m actually writing my first novel. That’s something I never thought I would do either. (laughs) But I’m just going to keep following the inspiration.

And I think you really can’t go wrong, and just being open…someone asked me a few weeks ago, a friend of mine, a really well-meaning friend asked me, “Have you ever seen anybody transition outside of the box of children’s books into another genre and be successful at it?”

And I thought about it and I thought, well no, but I don’t believe in the box. I really don’t. Why should you limit yourself if you can creatively express yourself or pursue a different business out of this and they are both very juicy and exciting to you? Why not go to both?

Jeff:  Sure.

Sheri:  You know? So, that’s really – and at the end of the day, what I write about, it’s from the heart and it’s all about love. Whether it’s a novel or a children’s book or even poetry. I’ve been writing poetry lately and I never thought that I would have. (laughs)

Jeff:  Yeah. Sure.

Sheri:  Just letting things come as they do, and trying to really go with the flow. And not be attached to the outcome which is challenging. But to be – because to embrace that the universe or however you want to look at it has a grander vision than even we can dream of and to accept that and step into it. And it taught me, step up into it rather than be fearful about what it could look like or what it would mean. It’s just constantly doing the inner works of that. You can embrace it when it comes.

Jeff:  What do you think stops people from pursuing their dreams like you have?

Sheri:  Oh, fear. Totally, fear. I mean, fear of the unknown, fear of success, fear of failure, fear of what people will think. That was a huge one for me. I had to really overcome that like, worrying about what everybody else thought of me. That’s a huge energetic drain. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

The thing that I have learned and continue to learn on a deeper level is that the more you show up as you, the more the right people will love you. I asked my fans in summer – I was doing an event for PBS. And I just had this funny little notion and I posted it on Facebook about the event. And I said, should I go brunette or should I go Smurf very blue? And they voted for blue. And so, I was a little scared.

But I was like,  “You know what? I’m a woman of my word. I’m going to rock this blue hair, and I’m just going to have fun with it.” And so I did. I wore a really fun, sky blue wig. And I ended up having the best night I’ve ever had. People everywhere, even in grocery store, on the way there, I was stopped to get some water. They’re like, “Oh, I love your hair!” (laughs) Just lights people up. So, I started doing that at my events. So now, it’s a kind of a thing that people are like, “What color of hair are you going to have?” And kids, they come up and they’re like, “Oh, I love your hair.” And they do it so sweet and just…it unlocks something in other people.

The desire to be playful or fun or adventurous or whatever it is that they wanted to do but didn’t have the courage to do. I love that. I love it. And so I think – and I know I’m a pink and sparkly kind of girl. When I was in the corporate world, I tried not to be that person. Like, I was in a black suit. Like I was the robot, a corporate robot I thought everybody wanted me to be.

But what I learned is that by being who you really are, even if that’s pink and sparkly and colorful, (laughs) the right people, they really embrace that and attracts the wrong people and they look and appreciate the expression of creativity in more than one way. That’s really valuable to me.

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Authentic people who really want to create in the world, whether it’s a business idea or a product or even just a campaign that they’re creating, to really go for it and be the person they’re meant to be and not try to be everybody else. And not try to be what does an author look, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t look like my booth and the way I present myself, but I don’t care. I just want to be me. I want to have as most as I can. I want to keep the best experience possible for fans.

So when I’m creating things, that’s what I think about. What would be usually fun for me and my fans? What would be the best experience when a fan comes to my table? Well, the best experience is that I can focus completely on them. So when I do events, I have an assistant who takes care of the transactions and helps me tremendously with everything so that I can be fully present with the kid or the adult who has taken the time to come over to me. I don’t see that that often. And that’s okay. I think we’re all doing the best we can, and I’m learning constantly. But the more me that I allow myself be, for everybody.

Jeff:  Why do you think that everybody is so scared?

Sheri:  I think that people are really socialized to avoid losing, to plain losing. Because I think it comes from a really good place originally where people – they don’t want to see you get disappointed, so they encourage you not to get your expectations up.

But the problem with that is that you settle for mediocrity for yourself, for your life, for what you can contribute to the world. And that would be okay. I mean, sometimes people just want to have a comfortable place to live and a steady job. And that’s okay if that’s their dream then and that’s come true for them, I’m so happy for them.

But I know for me and a lot of people that I’ve met along this journey, it’s not their dream. It’s something they want, it’s a part of it but they want to have a deeper meaning, a bigger impact in the world. And I think a lot of times, we just haven’t gotten in touch with the why or the fuel behind that fire. And then once you do, it’s like, wow! Why wouldn’t I choose to try this new thing? Why wouldn’t I want to be in the best shape of my life? Why wouldn’t I do whatever it took?

Jack Canfield tells us a story that is in one of the Chicken Soup books. It really touches my heart. I think it will resonate with your listeners, too. It’s about a little boy, and he’s in a hospital and they’ve tried everything and there’s – I don’t remember what exactly was the cause but that basically he’s dying. And he’s seven years old. And his dream was to be a fireman.

So, once they’ve gone through all of the things that they could possibly do to save this child, they face the fact that he most likely will not make it much longer like, maybe a week. And this is based on a true story. The mom contacts the local fire department and says, “Can you have one of your firemen come over and visit my son in the hospital? He’s not doing well, and he’s always wanted to be a fireman. And I just think this would be a really nice last wish for him.”

And the fire folks were like, “You know what? We can do better than that. So they got permission from the hospital. They showed up in the fire engine. They had the ladder, the telescoping ladder like, go up to his floor. They climbed in through the window. They’ve got all kinds of firemen and women in the room. And they just spend the day with this child.

Jeff:  Oh my gosh.

Sheri:  They had an honorary little helmet for him. It just made his whole experience worthwhile. And the mom’s crying, the hospital officials are crying, everybody’s crying because it’s so beautiful.

And what Jack says is like, these people are willing to do whatever it took to help this seven-year old’s wish come true. And he says, there’s a seven-year old inside each of us who has dreams, too. And those dreams will die if we don’t take action. And why wouldn’t we do whatever it took for our own seven-year old dreams to come true?

And I bawled. Like, he told me that story, (laughs) I was crying. But it really touched my heart. And I was thinking like, wow! What do I really want in this life? What do I want to create? What kind of legacy do I want to leave behind? And what will it take? And how far will I go in a heart-centered authentic way to step up, be bold, and go for it? And when I connect with that, seeming obstacles are nothing to me. It just doesn’t matter anymore.

Jeff:  You call them seeming obstacles.

Sheri:  Yeah. Like some people look at something and it’s a speed bump. Another person looks at the exact same thing and see it as a brick wall. I just look at it and say, well, how can I get over, under, around it? Blow it up? What is it going to take? How can I think bigger to take this goal?

Jeff:  Tell us a little bit about what is your life like now?

Sheri:  (laughs) You know, it’s so funny that you ask that. I was just having a conversation with my friend yesterday, and he’s a filmmaker. His film has been winning all these awards, and it’s incredible. He’s travelling all over the world. And I said, “You know, your life is pretty amazing. And he’s like, “Yeah. You know? I guess it does look pretty cool.” (laughs) When you’re in it, you don’t see it, right?

Jeff:  Yeah.

Sheri:  So thinking about it now, I just…I mean, the biggest blessing for me is knowing that it’s making a difference for people. I’ve just started getting to the point where people recognize me randomly even without purple hair (laughs) when I’m in the mall or walking down the street. That’s been pretty fun. I think a really great aspect of it that will resonate with people especially if you’re in the corporate world who have to do a lot of things that they don’t really want to do or are not in alignment with them. I don’t do things I don’t want to do anymore.

Jeff:  Oh, wow.

Sheri:  So, if an opportunity comes and it’s not a hell yes for me, then it’s a no. And I still work on it, too. Sometimes it’s difficult to discern the hell yes from the no. But if it lights me up and I get excited about it, then I want to do it, and I’ll say yes. But I used to say yes to everybody because I wanted to make everybody happy. And now I realized saying yes to everybody is saying no to me. It’s a no to creating what I want to create in the world. It’s a no to the lifestyle freedom I want to have. And so, it’s giving a compassionate but firm “No, thank you.” So that’s been big.

And I write usually a couple of days a week but it’s not always writing children’s books. Like I said, I’m working on a novel. Sometimes it’s just writing an article for a magazine, responding to a written interview, that kind of thing. I’m very focused right now on my health and fitness. Because it’s something that I felt like I neglected when I was in the corporate world. And even getting my business started a few years ago. It wasn’t a focus for me.

I’ve decided that I’m tired of looking at the pictures and not being happy with it. When I show up at events with fans, I don’t want to be worried about what angle am I standing in. Am I posed in a way that doesn’t show this or that? That’s not…(laughs) that’s not something I want to be thinking about when I’m in that moment. So, I’ve committed to myself to really working on that. I’ve been doing it, and it’s amazing. It’s like, my life was really exciting before and I felt so much passion, but now I have even more energy for it. It’s just…there’s a calm in a strength to knowing that you’re doing the right thing, that you’re on track for yourself. And that you’re saying a big, juicy yes to yourself.

So that’s something on my journey right now. And it’s cool. I get letters from people, I get emails. Sometimes I’m not quick about responding, unfortunately. I used to be lickity split but now I get something – I don’t give a purposeless response. I want to take my time and really think about it and from a heart-centered place.

So sometimes it takes me a little while to get back but I always do. I really…I love being connected to fans of Facebook. And I was scared of Facebook just even rollback like, 4, 5 years ago when I managed it for my company when I was in the corporate world. I was very corporate robotic like, the voice of the company. (laughs) And now, I’m just like, you know what? I’m not that girl. I’m excited I got those pictures from the play rehearsal today, and I would post them on Facebook. I am super excited about that. (laughs)

And sometimes, things just touch me. Like, I’ll read a quote, and I’ll be like, wow! That’s powerful. And I just want to share it with people. So I love that connection. And also, trumpeting things that other people are doing in the world, that I believe in, that are positive and good, spreading the word about that like that’s – it’s really amazing to have people who actually care what you say, (laughs) so that you can share things like that. It’s a new experience for me. I’m very grateful for it.

And I do events. I do festivals. I do storytelling on stages. I’ve spoken in a bunch of writers’ conferences. Those are sometimes the most rewarding because those are people who have the fire but haven’t quite like cracked the code yet.

And when I go, it’s almost like I’m the unicorn of the publishing industry because I’ve done something that people said you can’t do. I’ve done it in a completely different way that people didn’t necessarily even realized that you could. Even some of the things that I’ve achieved, I didn’t know I could do it either. It’s just amazing. So when I go on stage and I tell people how I did it, and I tell them like, flying by the seat of my pants just like you are. (laughs)

Jeff:  And people need to hear that.

Sheri:  As needed. It lifts something off their shoulders. It’s amazing. They even come to me and they’re crying and they’re touching their hearts and saying, “You know, you really inspired me. I was about to quit but moved forward. I didn’t know this way existed. And now, I know a new path.” It’s amazing. All these little books are being born because these folks have not given up. Yeah. It’s pretty amazing. But then, it’s – one of my fans said to me – she’s an aspiring writer. She said, “I can’t wait to be at the level you are so that I won’t be afraid anymore.”

Jeff:  (laughs)

Sheri:  And I just laughed. And I said, that is so sweet. But let me tell you (laughs) you get braver, but the challenges get bigger. (laughs) So, you’re always advancing to the next level and you’re always trying something new and taking it on. It’s not that you never get afraid. It’s just that you keep getting yourself back in touch with why you’re doing it.

And if it’s a hell yes, you just go for it with gusto. Don’t hold back. Never hold back. Play to win in life. And business. And I don’t mean like, cheat. I mean like, really put your whole heart into it. Do everything that you can to make it successful in an honest, authentic way. Because chances are, that’s the only way it’s going to be successful.

If you give half of yourself, you’re only going to get half of the return and half of the satisfaction. And you know in your heart that you held back. So I’m not about tip-toeing, I’m not about pleasing everybody. I mean, hopefully, I’ve pleased the fans but most importantly, I please myself. And that resonates with people.

Jeff:  It’s amazing. Sheri, what’s the biggest mistake you’ve made on this journey?

Sheri:  Hmm. I think the biggest mistake – and I don’t really like to look at it that way. I understand what you’re getting out there, but I like to look at it as an opportunity. I think the biggest opportunity that I have had in the past three years is that when I first did the book, I wanted it to be best seller.

And then, when it went number one, I thought this is great. It opens bigger doors for me to do more good. But I kind of thought I was going to be a one book wonder. I didn’t have a big vision for the brand. It wasn’t born yet. And I didn’t even know I needed a brand. I just had the one book. And the way that I chose to publish it was print on demand. For the listeners, you maybe don’t know that word yet. That’s when you contract with the printer, and they will only print the book as they’re ordered.

So, I became a number one best-selling author. But because of the clause associated with print on demand, I was actually losing a lot of money on every book. And I didn’t know. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. And it was okay. Like, then I realized I needed a mentor. I found somebody. It changed everything.

Like, printing overseas and doing it with a more business mindset for the industry. Made it profitable for me which was at the time, a huge thing to shift. But I think the biggest opportunity was really – I didn’t think I was going to sell that many books. I want to be a best seller, and I want to sell a lot of books. But I didn’t plan to sell a lot of books.

Jeff:  Oh, okay.

Sheri:  You know what I’m saying? I’m still playing to avoid losing in a sense.

Jeff:  Yeah, sure.

Sheri:  And so when it took off, I didn’t have enough supply on hand to meet the demand. And then I was in this position where overseas printing takes multiple months. So in the meantime, I’d have to continue losing money on every book, but I was so happy to be doing it. (laughs) But in a sense, I was still settling for less than what I really could have had. And so, that was a big learning for me.

And then, the second book idea came to me about a month after The Little Rose hit number one. I was like, no, no, no. I’ve done it. I checked the box. I’m a best-selling author. I published a book. A book I wrote for my heart like, I’m happy. But then this idea kept coming. And I kept delaying because I kept thinking well, that’s nice but it’s not really convenient for me to be doing that right now. I need to promote the new book. I’ve got all these things going on.

And so when I started getting approached about printing things on fabric with the characters, and you know, “Have you thought about publishing internationally? In this language or that language.” And in the new book, I could even see the cover. I could see The Little Gnome in my mind. And then, I fell in love with him. And I was like, oh my gosh, I have to tell the story. I have to create this book.

So then, I had the brand idea for The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink, to put everything under the brand. Before then, I just wasn’t thinking big enough. I was just thinking. So when I had the courage to do the second book and then I wanted to do a third book, and I wanted to do it in the same year.

And people who independently publish told me, “Don’t do that. That’s a mistake. It’s too much capital. It’s too much work, the marketing.” All this stuff. But people wanted it. As soon as the second book came up, people are already asking me for the third one.

Jeff:  Okay. Cool.

Sheri:  And it was for the younger kids. So it really expanded The Whimsical World. And I was like, why would I wait to slot this in? That’s a very corporate mindset which is okay, but I want to create and people want it. Like, let me just get it out there. And I did, and it ended up being very successful.

So I keep having to remind myself to listen to my inner guidance above all else. It’s important to ask experts, it’s important to learn from people who come before you, but maybe there’s a way to do things that people have never ever done before. There’s infinite possibilities. Whenever I find myself putting myself on one path, that’s when it gets more challenging. It’s not as fun. It’s like I feel like I have to do it a certain way, and I know there’s infinite ways. I just have to get in touch with that again.

Jeff:  Awesome advice. I love asking that question to people like you, and all of my guests because the response always starts with something like, “Well, I don’t regret anything,” or “I don’t really believe in mistakes.” (laughs) To the point where I ask that question kind of intentionally to play with my guests and get that really cool response that I love so much. Sheri, what’s the one piece of advice that you want to leave our listeners with?

Sheri:  I would say, whatever that deep, deep dream or desire is within you – and you  probably know what it is right away. It’s the one that scares the crap out of you. (laughs) It’s the one that if it were to happen, you feel like you would have fulfilled your destiny on this planet. That’s the thing to go for. Don’t waste your time on the other things. That’s the one.

If you really get in touch with that and you really go for it, things will wind up for you in an almost magical way. It doesn’t mean you won’t work for it. You will work hard. But it would be the most fulfilling work that you’ll ever do. It’s just…I think really going for the big, big dream, the one that has the emotional pull is the key.

Jeff:  Amazing advice. Sheri, where can we go to get more information about you and your latest book?

Sheri:  Oh, awesome. Well, my books are available on Amazon. You can search for the newest book, it’s called The Little Seahorse. And it’s already available for pre-order. I’m also very active on Facebook. My fan page is www.facebook.com/sherifinkfan. And I also have a website, it’s www.sherifink.com.

Jeff:  That’s awesome. We’re going to link all of those things up, and we’ll put a link to your Amazon offer page so that folks can just browse all of the various books that you have available on Amazon.

Sheri, this has been an amazing, amazing interview. And you have just shed some light on some really awesome things and just really showed how getting in touch with what you really want, pushing past that fear, and just going for it is the way to have whatever you want in life.

Sheri:  Awesome. Well, I had a lot of fun. Thank you for having me as a guest.

Jeff:  Thanks for being here.


Wow. What great advice that Sheri gave us here on the How to Quit Working show. You know, what never ceases to amaze me is that as soon as people get their own crazy, wacky, crazy, silly thoughts out of their head and focus on getting what they want, focusing on it like a laser, like there’s nothing else in the world that matters, that is when they get whatever they want.

Sheri is a very smart and talented person but her success is really less attributable to her brains and her talent than it is to her courage and willingness to do whatever it takes. And because she’s so smart and talented, that just makes everything that much better. She’s got a book on the best seller list that isn’t even available for purchase yet.

So, that was awesome. Go check out Sheri at her website at sherifink.com. That’s linked up below as well as a link to her author page. If you have any kids in your life, pick up a copy of The Little Rose. That looks like a really, really cool book. I’m going to order that for a couple of my friends’ kid.

Now, if you also want to accomplish big things like Sheri, get your own thoughts out of your head and really start marching forward towards getting whatever you want out of life, join my LinkedIn group. Now, I have a new LinkedIn group, it’s called How to Get Whatever You Want. You can get access to it by just going to howtoquitworking.com/group. And that will automatically take you over to LinkedIn where you can click “Request to join the group” and any listener of the show will be approved because I know that you’re awesome people.

So join that group and get into a community with myself, some of my guests for my show are in that community, and really just a bunch of awesome people who want to be in an environment with other awesome people and want to think about things in a way that is going to make them successful no matter what. It’s like no other group that has ever been in existence.

I sort of created the LinkedIn group that I wanted for myself. We’re going to have lots of cool stuff out there. We’re going to have questions and conversations. There’s never any obligation to participate. You might just want to watch what’s going on but certainly welcome to jump in, and I encourage you to jump in to the conversation because that’s when you’ll get the most out of it.

The key reasons I have created that group is because I really have a disdain for a lot of the content and stuff that’s out on social media. There’s just so much of people just posting links and promotional stuff. And I wanted to create something that’s a real, true community that actually has people participating. And something that no matter how much time you spend in that community, it’s going to be time well spent, not time wasted. So it’s not possible to waste time in that community because it’s all such good, encouraging stuff and everything that goes on in that group is intended to make you get whatever you want. And anything that would move you towards that goal will be there. Anything that would not move you towards that goal, you will not find there.

So go ahead and go over to howtoquitworking.com/group. There’s also a link below the show that you can click on to go over there and join a bunch of crazy, awesome people like Sheri. I don’t mean crazy people, I mean crazy, awesome people like Sheri who want to get whatever they want out of life and are dedicated to doing so.

Also, head over to iTunes and give us a rating. Let us know what you think of the show, 1 to 5 stars. Also leave a comment below. Tell us, what did you think of this episode? What did Sheri inspire you to do? So have a great week. I will talk to you again – I won’t see you, I’ll talk to you again next week on the How to Quit Working show and guess what we’re going to do? We’re going to talk to another amazing person just like you who has created their ultimate life of freedom through entrepreneurship.

You can get more information about Sheri at:


Her newest, best selling, book, The Littlest Seahorse is available for pre-order:

You can get “The Little Rose” at:

Browse all her books at:
All Sheri’s books

You can also connect with Sheri on her Facebook Fan page at:

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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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