My legs are covered for once in the Q&A Tuesday. Now I got some pants on. Pants.
Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching Marie TV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. You know, the Marie TV audience has been growing. It’s not just the ladies that love us, and I love my ladies, but there’s also some fellas out there, I know you won’t admit it, but you love us too. And more exciting than that, there’s a lot of moms who are starting to watch Marie TV with their kids. So I’ve been hearing about that a lot. And then I got this email. Hi, I’m Olivia, I’m 12 years old and I live in New Zealand and I’m just beginning to create my own digital publishing company as an author and illustrator. I’ve just signed up for your B-School free videos. I don’t even have a Facebook page, so I can’t post that way yet. I may start one when I know what to do with it. I think your videos are very inspiring. I’ve started to learn marketing now. Your videos are very helpful in this area and also how to get the right audience to notice and buy my products. I would love my books to touch people’s hearts and really inspire them like these videos inspired me a few seconds ago. Thank you, Olivia, smiley face.
When that email came in, it absolutely filled my heart and I knew I needed to know more about who this amazing young viewer was. It turns out she made a video for us. Take a look.
Hi, I’m Olivia Leigh. It is blowing a gale outside, but you know what rainy days are good for? Drawing. My other favorite thing about a windy and rainy day is that it’s perfect for writing. Welcome to my room. This is my office. That’s my bed. And if you ask me every single office should have a bed. All right. That was so hard. After a hard day’s typing, the best thing is grabbing a good book and flipping back on your office bed and reading it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have stuff to catch up on.
So Miss Olivia has quite a few things to say about creativity, about writing and about following your dreams. So we’re going to talk with her right now, via Skype. All right, everyone. So I am here with the amazing Olivia and I am so grateful. It’s afternoon here in New York City and Olivia, I know it’s the morning for you, right?
Yeah, it is actually, about 8:30.
8:30, awesome. So tell us a little bit more about your inspiration to create books and to write stories and to just start your own business.
Well, ever since I was little, ever since I could hold a pen, I’ve been drawing out my own stories. I had a good piece of paper and a pen and I’d have an idea for a story. And instead of writing it with words, I draw the pictures for each scene. Sometimes, I’d have entire chapters with just drawings in them with little speech bubbles. And a little later, I was encouraged to maybe write down the words and then put the pictures with it. So it sort of grew from that in a way. And then once I figured out how to get past the where’s the letters on the keyboard stage, it got a lot easier to type and I was able to do stories a little bit more properly, and I had pictures with them and it grew from there. So yeah, that’s pretty much how it happened.
That’s awesome. And so did you start drawing just on pencil and paper or were you drawing on the computer?
Well, I do like to draw on computer programs, but when I started, I was always, it was always had a pencil and a paper and I found it really difficult to draw with a pen, but now I really liked drawing with pens and it’s just stuff like that. But I, yeah, I did a lot of pencil drawings and I would just draw and draw and draw and eventually, I had huge piles of just paper with lots of drawings on them. And you can still find in our house with just these big boxes, full of paper with drawings on them from however old I was.
That’s awesome. I actually started, that was one of the first things that I learned how to do when I was little and it was one of my favorite activities. And for a while, I thought I was going to be a fine artist. So I loved drawing just as much it sounds like, as you do. So curious, do any of your friends have their own business and what do they think about you starting your own publishing company?
Well, none of my friends my age currently have their own businesses, but they are really supportive when I tell them about it. I’ll tell them that I did something new on my website or that I’ve done up a new set of tweets or something like that and they are so supportive. They’ll go, “Oh, wow. I can’t wait to see it.” Or something like that. And they’re really encouraging, really supportive. They’re great friends.
And I do have some adult friends though, who do run their own businesses and the ones I’ve told are also really supportive, so everyone rocks.
I love it. And so have you met your adult friends through your parents or through friends of your parents? Is that how you got in touch?
Well, yeah, pretty much. I mean, we’re around the same area and so we know them from around here and we meet them. We catch up quite a lot. So yeah, we spend a lot of time around each other, so we do get to talk about that sort of stuff, actually, quite a lot.
That’s so great. I love hearing that. So next thing I want to ask you, because I think it’s true for any entrepreneur, when you run into challenges, whether it’s creative challenges and you’re working on a story, or it comes more to the technical side of your business, how do you handle those challenges? Who do you go to, to ask for help?
Well, there’s definitely mom and dad. They are really helpful with business. Also stuff like my dad might help him with the texts and things, because that’s always fun.
But there’s Auntie Google and Cousin YouTube.
My favorites. My favorites.
They’re really helpful. With Google, because I might be needing to do some research on a time period in a book I’m working on and I’ll go to Google and I had a really weird thing I needed to look up and it actually, it’s surprisingly helpful. And with YouTube, I might have a book that needs a certain style of drawing.
And it’s really hard to do that particular style or maybe I just don’t know it or I’ve never even heard of it or something like that.
So I’ll look it up on YouTube or I’ll get help to find it and I’ll just watch an artist who knows how to do it and practice. And it’s really, really helpful. Yeah.
Isn’t it just amazing the time that we live in that you can just go online and whether you want information, education or inspiration, it’s just all at your fingertips. And the thing I love about you Olivia, is that you get this on such a level. It’s like, this is just how you think and I can’t tell you how excited I am for you because at 12 years old, right, and you’re almost 13, what you’re going to be able to create in your life is just so miraculous. And you’re such an inspiration to me, the fact that you’re getting started this young. I just think it’s fantastic. So thanks for sharing with us a little bit of how you overcome your challenges with a, what do you call them? Is it uncle Google and Auntie YouTube? Or did I get that switched up?
It’s Auntie Google and Cousin YouTube.
Oh, love it. Love it, love it, love it. So next thing I want to ask you as we’re kind of wrapping this up, one of the reasons I wanted to interview you was because I so admire your ambition and the fact that you had dreams and you had dreams around creating stories and creating books and you just take action. And as I always say, everything is figure out-able. So I know so many people in our audience of all ages have a dream of having their own book and putting their ideas out into the world. So what would you say to someone who’s just starting out? Any tips for them?
Well, I do have a few tips that I would definitely give to a person like that. I’ve got, well, say five, actually five tips.
My first one is that you should just start and write regularly because if you have a schedule and you just continue to chug through it, then you’ll get through it. You’ll finish it. If you don’t, well, you won’t.
Yes. Let me ask you, before you go onto your next tip, do you have a regular writing schedule for yourself?
Well, I do try. I had a little period where I was writing and writing and writing and it was going really well.
Then I finished the first draft of the book and I took a break and I found that now I’ve got a great drawing spurt, so I’m going for that.
So sometimes it’s just, I’m taking turns with it, writing, drawing, writing, drawing. So it’s, that’s sort of how it works personally for me.
I love that. And I actually find that to be very true as well. When you get those creative bursts, as long as you’re consistent with whatever it is that you want to create, it works well. So yeah, let’s go on to your second tip.
All right. Well, my second one is it’s really easy to publish your own book online in today’s world. I mean, because on Amazon, Apple Kobo and all of the other ones, have free guides that you can just follow the instructions on and you’ll find it really easy to just get it up there. It’s really great, yes. My third one is that make sure your cover image actually looks really cool. Make sure it looks really good and that your title is really importantly, really easy to read when it’s the size of a thumbnail online.
So this has been Olivia, I think that this is such a huge tip and I’m so glad that you brought it up. So the idea of not only having your cover be really good, but having your title be really good. And most importantly, that when it’s that tiny as a thumbnail, that it’s still attractive and it still connects. I was reading this article about a woman in, I believe it was Forbes. She started selling vintage clothing online using eBay and one of the things that she discovered by the way she started off doing this, like just in her house and now her company, I think, is doing about 129 million a year in revenue, all from one of her biggest things was making sure that the pictures look really good when they’re tiny. And she said, “That’s one of the tips that most people don’t get.” So I just love how wicked smart you are that you got that already. So that’s huge. Thanks for that.
Thank you very much. My fourth one is that publishing is really easy, but you still need a really good book because if you skimp on the quality, what happens when someone picks up that book and goes, “Oh interesting,” reads it and they go, “Ah.” They don’t really like it. If it’s really bad, well then any other books that your name is associated with or that you’ve written, they’ll probably assume that they’re really bad as well. So you shouldn’t really skimp on the quality of the book. Give it your best and the cover and everything. Just, yeah.
I’ll tell you, you’re talking about something that we talk about in our B-School program. It’s this strategy I talk about. I call it the happy meal mistake where people will put out kind of crap stuff on their website and then expect people to want to pay them really good money for some of their other training or their programs. And it’s kind of like, if someone took you on a date to McDonald’s and got you a happy meal, would you ever really expect them to go flying you off to Paris or some romantic weekend? Probably not. So it’s like, you’re talking about in the book world, right? Not wanting to make the happy meal mistake. Do you like this tip?
I really like that tip.
So in what you’re saying is with your book, it’s like, you don’t want to put out a happy meal book, right? That’s kind of low quality and no one’s going to want to come back for a gourmet dinner.
Oh, that’s really funny. My fifth tip is that you should celebrate every milestone when you finish your first draft, because that’s a really big accomplishment. I mean, you’ve gotten to the end of something, relatively. So you should celebrate just whatever tickles your fancy, just celebrate in a way. And when you finish your edit, you should celebrate that. And when you finally publish it, you should also celebrate. My family, when we finish the first edit of a book, we’ll often go to a beach and we have this little, we recently made tradition that we have, where we go to the beach, we just get something yummy to eat and then we do a dance. For some reason, we do a dance. I don’t know why.
Because it’s fun. Yes, that’s right. Because it makes you feel alive and that’s like, what better way to hang out and celebrate with your family than to dance around and be goofy and enjoy each other’s company. I think that’s awesome.
Yeah, it’s a lot of fun.
That’s really cool. Olivia, I just think you are fantastic. And I want to, first of all, thank you for writing us that email months ago, letting us know what a difference our videos make. And I just adore you. I think you’re fantastic. Your parents are great. So please send them my best.
And yeah, you got to keep us up to date. And I know right now, everyone watching this Marie TV episode, there’ll be very, very inspired. And a lot of moms also watch with their daughters and I’m sure their sons too, so you’re providing a great example to many, many, many folks in our audience. So thank you for that.
You’re so cute. So right now, as we always do on Marie TV, we want to thank you guys for watching. If you like this video, please like it and subscribe. And if you want even more great resources to have a business and a life that you love, make sure you get your butt over to marieforleo.com and sign up for email updates. On behalf of me in New York and Olivia in New Zealand, thank you and we’ll see you guys soon. Thanks everybody.
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