Lessons Learned From 3 Years As A Full-Time Author with Sacha Black

What do you need to consider if you want to go full time as an author entrepreneur? What challenges might you face in your first few years? Sacha Black shared her lessons learned from 3 years full-time.

In the intro, PRH and S&S merger heads to trial [Publishers Weekly]; Pilgrimage episodes on my Books and Travel Podcast; plus, Steven Pressfield’s new ‘tough love for creatives’ book, Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to Be.

Publisher Rocket

This episode is sponsored by Publisher Rocket, which will help you get your book in front of more Amazon readers so you can spend less time marketing and more time writing. I use Publisher Rocket for researching book titles, categories, and keywords — for new books and for updating my backlist. Check it out at www.PublisherRocket.com

Sacha Black is an author, rebel podcaster and professional speaker. She writes educational nonfiction books for writers and sapphic books for young adults.

You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below.

Show Notes

  • Important things to consider when leaving a day job
  • Building confidence in the first year of full-time authorship
  • Multiple streams of income — and when to say ‘no’
  • Why self-care matters so much
  • Leaning in to authentic branding
  • What makes writers good publishers?

You can find Sacha Black at SachaBlack.co.uk and on Twitter @sacha_black. Her latest book is The Anatomy of a Bestseller.

Transcript of Interview with Sacha Black

Joanna: Sacha Black is an author, rebel podcaster and professional speaker. She writes educational nonfiction books for writers and sapphic books for young adults. Welcome back to the show, Sacha.

Sacha: Thank you for having me. It’s always a massive giddy honor, and pleasure to be here. So, thank you.

Joanna: Oh, well, it’s great to talk to you again. You were last on the show in March 2019, talking about writing heroes and villains. And you left your job a couple of months after that.

Take us back to how you made that decision. What were you doing before? And why did you decide to make the jump?

Sacha: I think my decision to leave the day job is probably a little bit different to a lot of writers who are very keen on leaving just to purely write books. Whereas I really didn’t like my day job, I was very low, and I didn’t fit.

I was really creative and wanted to do quirky projects, and they just were not interested. So I felt very crushed in the day job, I was doing project management in a conservative environment. So, that was a lot of the reason that I was pushing to leave my job.

I’d had a threat of redundancy. At the time, I lived in a property that was owned by my employer. So if I lost my job, I would also lose my house. And it’s this being completely beholden to one other organization or one person, and it was terrifying. So I was very, very determined to leave my job.

Why did I make the decision, and how did I get there?

I had to do a few things before I left; I had to pay off debt. I still had student debt, I had a car loan, and some fertility treatment and stuff. And my whole ethos was that I wanted to need as little money per month as humanly possible.

Of course, paying off the debt was the quickest way to do that. And that drastically lowered the amount of money that I needed, which made it easier to leave my job because the less I needed, the less I had to guarantee to come in from writing, or freelance, or whatever.

I also left knowing that I had an insatiable appetite for all of the things. I knew that I wanted to write books, and speak, and do teaching, and all the rest of this stuff. So, I left probably a little bit before a lot of writers would leave if they are leaving, just to write books.

What got me to that point was that I had paid off all of the debt, and it was a lot less, maybe, I don’t know, £1000 less every single month. And then I had built up some freelance work. So, I did virtual assistant work, though I had gotten qualified as a developmental editor.

I’d also built a pot of money, a safety net.

That also went into the decision that I knew, even if I did have a rubbish month, I would be okay, because I had some money backing me up there.

And then I got offered a freelance gig, which was long-term and really made up the gap between what I was earning from sales, and courses, and whatever else I was doing back then, and what I needed to earn. That was what led me there. It was a tough choice, because I did halve my income.

Joanna: I think there’s a few things that our listeners know. I left my job over a decade ago in 2011. But similar to you downsizing, I think this is such an important thing. We want to emphasize it.

You paid off debt, we did the same thing. We sold our house, we also lowered our costs. And we also had a safety net.

I know some people don’t have a choice because they are made redundant. And then they have to start from nowhere. But if you have the choice like you did, and I did, which is paying off the debt, lowering your monthly costs, and at least having some savings so that if it doesn’t turn out exactly as you think, then that’s really good.

So let’s come on to that first year, because I remember emailing you about this. But tell us about that first year — I guess you’ve already said you took a pay cut, but the emotional side as well.

What should people know about the first year, and what might make it easier for others who are thinking about going full-time?

Sacha: My first question is, ‘Do you like roller coaster rides, the really, really fast ones?’ Because oh, my goodness me, I do.

I remember the conversation that we had and I think you said something along the lines of, ‘Oh, you’ll be like a duck; on the surface you’ll look okay, and then underneath you’re like, scrambling and pedalling so fast like…’ That is exactly what it was like.

[From Joanna: Here are my lessons learned from year 1.]

That whole year I felt like being in a boxing ring with Mike Tyson, because the pressure and the constant get up, get to the desk, like, ‘How can we earn money today?’ Is both intensely thrilling, and kind of stressful. But I really, really thrive on that.

I think if you like pressure, and you like being responsible for what you’re delivering, then that first year is a bit of a breeze. But to me, now, when I look back, it’s a complete blur.

Because it was just like survive the day, survive the day, we can find another way, think of a new idea, do a new thing, experiment here.

For me, it was about building confidence, because I had no idea if I could even make it to the end of the year. And also, I was a bit of a shell when I left my old job as well.

So that year was a little bit about repairing, and healing, internally. And then the other bit was about building that confidence that I could actually make it to the end of the year.

That self-belief, and then it’s like a switch, you get to the end of that first year and you’re like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, I can actually do this.’ Then your decision making changes, I think after the end of that first year.

In terms of what do I wish I’d known?

I wish that I had focused more on long-term creation.

I spent a lot of that first year just trying to make money, I didn’t care where it came from. I just had to bring in the cash to pay the bills, to pay whatever it was that I needed. I definitely didn’t necessarily focus on the right things.

Joanna: But you need to pay the bills. You mentioned, you had freelance work, you had editor work.

I feel like this balance between cash flow and building assets it’s so important. But equally, when you need the cash flow, you have to do the cash flow.

And of course, for some authors, it’s keeping a job or like Michaelbrent Collings, who’s been on the show talking about rebooting his author career, he said he did pizza delivery for a bit just so he could pay some bills and keep his kids in food, or whatever.

I think that’s really important is, I totally agree with you that we would all love to just focus on building assets and writing our books. But equally, it’s absolutely fine and brilliant to just make some money to pay the bills, and especially like we’re talking now going into a difficult financial period for many people with inflation.

I think this is something that people do have to do, right? So don’t beat yourself up over that. And I think even if you had known, then I still think you would have been just earning money today. How do we earn money today? This is a very good question.

Sacha: It is a good question, especially with all the tech changing and all the puzzle, but that’s the thing.

My mindset completely shifted, because back then I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I have no idea how to make money, I just need to do all of the things.’ Whereas now, I’m much more selective.

And I’m like, ‘Well, I could do that. And I could do this.’

But actually, what will make me happiest is because I am more willing to risk the lower income for a couple of months in order to focus on a thing that is more me, more my brand, lean into what I’m strongest at, if it’s going to give me a longer term return. But I didn’t have the confidence to do that back then even with the safety net and the safety part.

I do think that that first year was all about building that confidence and learning, because I did so many different things, of just experimenting, from editing, and VA work, and I don’t know, all kinds of stuff.

But you have to learn the things that both give you joy, and create energy for you, and bring in cash. Because you might find that doing something that brings in slightly less, but actually gives you loads of joy is better for you in the long run.

Joanna: I feel like you can only have the luxury of thinking about that once you’ve at least got some kind of stability and income. But let’s talk about that. So you talk there about experimenting. And you mentioned BA, I presume you mean business analysis if people don’t know.

Sacha: Sorry, VA.

Joanna: Oh, VA, virtual assistant.

Sacha: Virtual assistant. Yeah.

Joanna: Okay, virtual assistant. You still have multiple streams of income as you mentioned. You and I are similar in many ways, but both of us are multi-passionate creators and we can’t seem to stop ourselves doing so many different things.

Tell us about your multiple streams of income now, because you said that you’ve become more selective. How does it look now?

Sacha: When I left the day job and I went back and I had a look at the numbers because I knew you’re going to ask me this, 75% of my income in that first year came from freelance or other stuff.

So things as I’ve mentioned, I had virtual assistant work, editing. I did graphics work. I did editing, did I say editing? I’m losing track here, merchandise, course creation, obviously, books that I did some work for the Alliance of Independent Authors, managing conferences, editing their blog, all kinds of different things.

Then over the last three years, I revised and I revised, because through introspection and learning what took the most energy, gave me x money, but actually drained me so much that I then couldn’t work on the stuff that I wanted to. I completely agree that it is a privileged position to be able to make those decisions.

But you get into a dangerous position where if you do too much of one thing, you then can’t work on the thing that you want to, and that just creates a job instead of like a business or a career that you really want.

So for me, I had to reduce down the editing. Because my brain, it was just taking from the same creative pot, if I was editing, there was nothing left in order to write my own books. And ultimately, that’s what I want to do. So I had to stop doing that stuff.

In terms of where I am now, I have only one freelance gig left, which I actually love. I want to continue because it brings me joy.

I’m focusing a lot on community building.

I have an amazing Patreon community, which grows in fits and starts. It takes forever to begin, and then you bring in a huge quantity of patrons, and then it slows again, and then you have a massive expansion, but it’s the community.

A lot of the things that I create have actually come from the community themselves. So we have lives and we talk about the things that I’m doing. And one of the things that came from that was that I do a lot of deconstruction of the books that I read, and they wanted to do that.

From that came masterclasses, and now I’ve written a book about how to do that. And then there’ll be like a premium course. Some of it comes from the things that I want to do. And some of it comes from the community and the readership that you build and delivering what they want.

I’m doing courses, I’m doing Patreon. I’m narrating audiobooks, I’m just about to start another one. Still doing speaking because I love that and that gives me energy. And also you can then iterate the content as well. So just because you’ve done something once and you’ve been paid for it doesn’t mean you can’t reuse it in another way.

Any like, speaking gig that I do, I save the content and the slides, and then you can iterate it and turn it into something else later down the line. And of course, writing books, that is a big thing that I still do of course.

Joanna: Yes, yes, yes.

Tell us about the different types of books that you write.

Sacha: I spend a lot of my time writing nonfiction, I focus mostly on the craft. I’ve written books on characters and prose. And this latest one is on deconstruction and understanding the market and writing to your reader. I don’t really like the phrase ‘write to market,’ but your readers are who buy your book. So you need to write to reader.

And then I had a bit of a…you’ll forgive the phrase, but a come-to-Jesus moment last year, where I realized that I was writing in young adult genre, but actually, I’m a queer woman. And the books that I was reading that were giving me the most emotional resonance, and the most joy, were queer fiction. And I was like, ‘Why am I not writing queer fiction?’

So, I have gone on a binge-reading exploration of queer fiction. And now I am writing sapphic young adults and maybe I’ll do a pen name with some more adult sapphic stuff…

Joanna: I think that’s really interesting. And I think one of the kind of tips here for listeners is, again, your multiple streams of income. And it’s not just from courses versus books, it’s also different genres, with the books and while you’re writing a novel that because it’s touched you in some way.

And you don’t necessarily know that that’s going to work in terms of earning, but you’ve got the other forms of income that support you.

Do you feel you have more freedom to experiment now because you’ve got some more stability?

Sacha: Yes, 100%. I think there’s two things. The first thing is I have more stability now. And so I do have that freedom to choose. But the second thing is I’m going in having done an awful lot of market research.

I noticed a gap in the market, something that I wanted to read as a reader of that genre, something that was missing.

I’ve spent an awful lot of time researching the market, researching categories, researching tropes, listening to readers, watching things on TikTok to see what is said, looking at reviews, trying to understand exactly what readers of that genre want.

So even though it’s not the biggest niche, I’m going in with a lot of knowledge about how to tailor the stories that I want to write in the genre that I want to write, but also delivering what the readers want and expect. So yes, it is still a risk. But I feel like it’s an educated guess, I suppose.

Joanna: That’s fantastic.

What are the good decisions that you’ve made in the past few years? And what are some of the mistakes?

Sacha: I think that one of the best things that I’ve ever done was leaning into me. I know that sounds a bit bananas.

My business is not the books, my business is me. I brand me.

And I think that is the best decision I ever made. Because the more you lean into you, and whatever the most ‘you’ thing is.

For me, it’s about being cheeky, and sarcastic, and rebellious, and breaking the rules, and doing naughty things, the more I have lent into that, the quicker my platform and audience has grown.

Yes, it does mean sometimes I get one-star reviews, ‘This book would have been great if it weren’t full of swearing’. But also, that’s great, because that means that people who do like that kind of thing, are going to click one buy.

I remember, I got a review that said, ‘What is this? This is as if Deadpool was a professor teaching you writing?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, my God, best review ever.’ But it was a one-star review, right. And so I actually shared that. And it got sales.

Joanna: That is a great review.

Sacha: I genuinely feel like leaning into that, and leaning into me and branding me, and seeding that through both the nonfiction, but also the fiction, which is what I’m doing now.

I’m doing fiction that’s much more cheeky and on the edge than I have ever done. It bringing people towards me, which means the platform is growing, my followers are growing, my sales are growing.

The other thing that I have done, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s self-care, I genuinely feel like looking after myself has produced the best results ever.

And the way that I do that, and you talk about this, is more sleep, or more quality of sleep I would say. Exercising, I have struggled for a long time with like, writer’s spread. But I couldn’t find anything that would fit my business or like, working because I also have a child.

Now I go during the day, and I have lost working time. But actually, I’m producing more because mentally I’m better. I’m high off endorphins in the afternoon. So I just like to smash work out. I just head down and worked, worked, worked, thinking, ‘No, you know, the harder I work, the more hours I do, the more I will produce.’

That was such a hard thing for me to accept because I like working, but it’s not actually true. Though I’ve looked after myself, and lo and behold, I’m producing way more and way faster than I ever have before. So that is like a tough lesson that I have some internal conflict over.

Joanna: I think that’s so important. And we all have that realization, too. You literally can’t just brute force any career actually.

One of the problems in ‘working for yourself’ is that you can be your worst boss. I definitely have worked more hours since leaving a job than I ever did in a job, because you can’t leave it behind.

Especially as a writer, even if we do something that’s not technically related, that your brain still kind of doing its thing, and every book we’re reading for fun is also something else. It is hard to turn off.

That physical health thing, I think we all reach that point. The Healthy Writer, that I co-wrote a few years ago, partly I explored my own health problems in that. If you haven’t figured this out by your mid-30s, then you are certainly going to suffer by the time you’re 40.

Sacha: Absolutely.

Joanna: So you have to figure it out basically.

Sacha: You do. And the thing that you were saying as well, in terms of that switching off, it’s so hard when you work at home, because it’s like there’s a thread connecting you to the office. It doesn’t matter where you are in the house, the office is calling because it’s right there, there is no escape, home becomes work.

I can see why so many people choose to do an office, or a garden office, or go and work in a co-working space because it does get very difficult to turn off and especially with lockdown as well. There was no turning off, there was no escaping the house either. So what else do you do? You don’t. You just work and well, that’s what I did for the last two years.

Joanna: I want to just come back to something you said earlier because I think people might be interested is that you said, ‘I brand me’ which is a great thing. You talked a bit about the sort of hallmarks of that sort of being cheeky or whatever, but how have you done that?

Have you done that through branding? You use certain photos, you do great hair and makeup when you’re on video and stuff like that. Is that part of your physical branding and color schemes in your book design?

How are you doing that ‘brand me’ thing?

Sacha: I think it’s everything. It filters down from how you look online to the voice and tone you use in blog posts, or guest articles, or talking on podcasts.

It is, as you said, the colors and the branding. It’s things like usually, if I am on camera, I will be wearing branded merch. It’s even these subtle things.

I went so far as to paint my front door purple. I just live and breathe Sacha Black. That is it. But it’s little things as well.

I was very uptight about my mailing list for a really long time. I don’t know what I was trying to do, over deliver or just even treat it with the importance that it should be treated with.

And then I was like, ‘What are you doing? That is not you.’ I’m the sort of person that is 100% authentic genuine I speak to everybody exactly the same whether I’m in the pub, or a podcast, or whatever. And that is part of the branding for me. I wasn’t writing emails like that.

In January, I reread Tammi Labrecque’s ‘Newsletter Ninja’ and just went, ‘Okay, I’m just going to be me.’ And it was an immediate change. So it’s like learning to imbue yourself and your voice in everything. Now I write emails with swear words in and I take the mick out of myself an awful lot, even on Instagram.

Instagram stories I’m like, cheeky and naughty. And I’ll just tell stories that are taking the mick out of my day because that’s the kind of humor that I love. So it is everything, including apparently your front door.

Joanna: I think that’s good. You talked there about learning and you did that this year. So that’s a couple of years after you went full-time and even more years since you started writing.

So people listening, if you don’t know who you are as a brand, like most of us don’t, you grow into it.

And it’s how it feels, right? If it feels right to do it that way, then lean into that. And if it doesn’t, then don’t do that.

Sacha: I hate to bring it up but I’m going to. But CliftonStrengths, oh, my goodness me, has been such a journey of revelation and like falling in love with the bits that I had shame around.

For those people that don’t know, CliftonStrengths is a little bit like Myers-Briggs. It’s a personality profile. And the sort of most well-known person who does it in the writing community is Becca Syme. I learned so very much about who I am, and the language that I use, and learning to accept that I am competitive and I do want to win things.

It’s not seen as something a leader should want or whatever, I don’t know. It’s been a journey of learning who I am. And then putting that into everything I say, everything I post, everything I write, and everything I wear, I suppose.

Joanna: Absolutely. I think that’s so important. And as we said, you can learn this stuff over time, it doesn’t need to be immediate, a bit like your author voice. I feel like there’s such an emphasis on author voice, but I don’t think it emerges until you’ve written a few books.

I think it takes a few books for us to relax as you said, ‘Relax into who you are, and accept those aspects of yourself and just enable them to be real and not to fake it.’ Because if you fake it, you actually can’t maintain that.

If we’re talking about long-term business, you cannot fake it for very long before you’re like, ‘Oh, I can’t do this anymore,’ right?

Sacha: Absolutely. Part of that, I think, is because we spend so long listening to other people and thinking that their things, for want of a better word, are right. There’s a lot of loud voices in our community, and that it’s very easy to listen to them.

I remember you saying it took you five books before you really understood your writing process. And I was like, ‘No, we can write quite quick.’ Well, you don’t, it took me five books as well. So basically, you were right, on everything. Everything you say is right!

Joanna: Oh yes. Eventually, I’m right. Sometimes it just takes longer than I expect! But no, I think that’s really good.

Let’s just come back to any mistakes you’ve made.

Any big mistakes that you’d like to share, or you could frame it as lessons that you had to learn?

Sacha: I think a couple of things; one is saying yes to too many things. Now, I don’t think that’s a mistake necessarily. But I think I said yes for too long.

When you first start out, you have to say yes to a lot of things. Because part of that is about growing your audience, you go and do free things, you say yes, and take on opportunities. And you have to because that does build a platform, it helps to sell books.

But I think I said yes for too long, because it took me so long to realize that I was drowning.

The other thing that I did too much was spend too much time marketing and dealing with admin before I had built enough books.

And that is something I’m still trying to get better at, even though I don’t know, I think I’ve either written 17 or 18 books now. But I’m at the point where I have come to fully accept and realize that I have to write books first. But I’m saying this with a caveat, because there are some people who will pump out books and not do any building and marketing.

That is also a mistake, because you can’t just pump books out, you do actually have to build the community of readers, and build your mailing list, and build all the other things. But there’s a very fine balancing act between prioritizing creation, but also not leaving all the marketing and just doing nothing.

I did not get that balance right at the beginning. And some of that was around…because I’ve been full-time three years and two of those years were in the pandemic. And some of that was about the pandemic because I could get easy wins. And that’s really important to me.

I would do things for other people. And I would focus on the admin because I knew I could bish bash bosh, tasks out, rather than focusing on words and book creation. But now, I don’t do that anymore. That is something I’ve definitely stopped doing. And it’s surprising, increasing my income.

Joanna: I think we have to keep learning that lesson. Because I feel like it happens to everyone, we go too hard on the marketing and/or the business side, and then we move back into the creation side. And then it’s almost like a seesawing, because something needs doing and something needs focus.

And then the next project comes along. I’m at the point now where I’m like, ‘Okay, I took my foot off the marketing too much, because I’ve been busy doing other things, and I took my foot off, and now I need to put my foot back on again.’

But then that’s just also the person I am. As we’ve said, we’re quite similar in that we focus on things and get them done. I think that’s really important, but I prefer project-style work. Whereas some people can consistently every day do exactly the same thing, where they go into the spreadsheets or whatever, or manage the spreadsheets, or manage the ads, and I just can’t do that.

I need to almost do it in binge sessions, or let’s call it campaigns, because that’s a marketing term, doing marketing campaigns, as opposed to consistent everyday marketing. I don’t know, I do feel like we go back and forwards. What about you because it’s about you?

Sacha: I am, for sure, a Phoenix person, I definitely burn hot and hard for periods of time. And then I crash and burn. But what I have gotten better at doing is crashing and burning, but changing tasks.

So a little bit about what you were saying in terms of sometimes you’re focusing on marketing, and sometimes you’re focusing on creation, I definitely do that. And I am now better and more aware at understanding my energy levels, and preventing severe crashes.

It does come down to how many museums have I been to? Or whatever, I don’t know. How many places have I gone and looked for inspiration? How many books have I read? How much sleep am I getting? How much exercise am I getting?

And then scheduling in instead of doing back-to-back editing or instead of doing fiction, fiction, fiction, fiction, and then a nonfiction, it’s fiction, nonfiction, fiction, nonfiction, because though that wave means the crash is less, but I had to learn that the hard way like, doing back-to-back things and being like, ‘Why am I so exhausted?’

Joanna: You’ve posted like I do as well, every year, ‘Lessons learned from year x,’ and one of your lessons was, ‘Be a better publisher.’

What do you mean by ‘being a better publisher’? And what are you going to do to achieve it?

Sacha: This is the thing that I enjoy the least about doing my business, but it’s also one of the most important things.

What do I mean by being a good publisher? I mean making sure that you are making the most out of every single product or asset that you have.

What does that look like? That looks like making sure you have all of your books in all of the formats.

It means making sure that your reader magnets are up to date. That you have checked your autoresponders and that they are evergreen, and that you don’t put a year in there.

Joanna: That’s a good one.

Sacha: I did that, definitely made that mistake. And I got told when it was two years out of date by a reader.

It means things like pushing for foreign translations or updating the back matter when you’ve published some more books and linking to those books in the back of your books and running sales.

Are you capitalizing on the fact that you have a growing backlist? Have you experimented? If your books have always been full price, have you run a sale? Have you done on-the-spot sale just for your newsletter? Have you tried building a shop on your website? Have you tried a book set? Have you updated your keywords?

Or even things I remember you talked about updating your author photos recently. Or maybe not recently, time is a lie. But it’s those things that create a slick running system in the background.

Things also like, is it time to outsource? Do you need to set up a system to make things more efficient, to take some of the administrative weight off your plate?

Anything that is not creation and that is not advertising and promotion, to me, feels like the publishing side, what are you doing with your books? How often have you checked them for being up to date? Being an indie author is not just writing books, so it’s the business side to me.

Joanna: I think people are going, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s exhausting.’ And I was just listening to you going, ‘Oh my goodness.’ The thing is, the longer it goes on, the more backlist you have, the bigger deal this is.

We were just talking as we record this, I’m still building my Shopify store. But hopefully by the time this goes out, it will be live at CreativePennBooks.com. But basically, it feels like a lot of the admin work sometimes.

The question then becomes, why not get a publisher? Why not go back to the day job? Why continue to do this? Why are you still doing this three years later?

Sacha: I have been told that I have a problem with authority. That might be part of it. Also, I don’t really play well in teams. So that is another part of it.

But really, not messing around, one, freedom. I cannot understate the value of freedom, and the enormous empowerment and confidence building that that brings and gives you.

The other bit is potential and possibility. When we mentioned at the top of the episode that when I left my job, I halved my income. Well, I have surpassed my old day job income. And that was a huge, huge moment.

Before then I wasn’t sure I had the capability. I wasn’t sure if I was capable of doing that. But having beaten that income, I’m like, ‘Oh, there is no path. There is no stopping me. There is no ceiling I can’t smash through.’

Whereas my partner, my wife, who is in a day job does have a ceiling, hasn’t had a pay rise in a while because she’s in the public sector. And anyway, this is not a political show, but you know.

That possibility, that potential is addictive. It’s like my own personal catnip.

I also really enjoy the pressure of having to make money, and that’s not easy. That is also something that not everybody would like or enjoy.

But I really like knowing that any risk I take is on my shoulders, and I have made mistakes. I’ve outsourced things that I shouldn’t have. I’ve made mistakes and lost money on advertising. But also I have surpassed my old day job income.

For every loss, there is a win and all of them are on my shoulders, and I like that responsibility. That brings me joy, it gives me a sense of achievement. And even though sometimes I have to do things to make money 80% of my time, or even more than that now I would say, I get to work on the things that I choose, and that is priceless.

There is no amount of money that could sway me from that. Although I’m slightly restrained by the school term time, it’s the ability to travel or going to a museum in the day, and it’s research and tax deductible. All the things that I love, I get to do every single day. How amazing is that? Why would anybody give that up even though it’s financially tough?

Joanna: Absolutely. I think all of these reasons. I do think that being a full-time independent author entrepreneur with these multiple streams of income, I do think there is a personality that enjoys it. And it’s so funny because I think back in the day, I would have said, ‘Oh, anyone can be a successful indie.’ But I actually think there is a personality type.

And as you’ve said, it is the people who love taking that independent decision who want the power to sort of go up. But look let’s face it, there’s no ceiling on your income, but there’s also no floor. Whereas, your wife can bring home a monthly salary where yes, she can get laid off, but essentially, there’s a floor and there’s a ceiling.

Whereas for us, there’s no ceiling, but there’s also no floor there. And it goes up and down over time. But I think you’re right, I think the personality type of if you enjoy the challenge, and you want that independence, then yeah, and the empowerment, I totally agree with you. I’m still doing this too, right?

Sacha: Exactly. Really, there is a lot to be said about how resilient you are. Because I think if you are not a resilient person, and really you do have to have that conversation with yourself before you up and leave your day job, you have to be resilient.

It is all about mindset, and you’ve written a book on mindset.

80% of getting up and keeping going is mindset and sheer stubborn determination to take those wins and those losses and turn those losses into a lesson rather than a woe is me.

Because if you woe is me, you’re not going to earn any money this month. I love the risk, and the potential, I mean, I love it.

Joanna: Brilliant. So we haven’t even really talked about your podcast.

Tell us where can people find you, and tell us a bit about your podcast, and your books, and where you are online.

Sacha: You can find me at sachablack.co.uk. And the podcast is ‘The Rebel Author Podcast’ where I talk to creative people and we tell rebel stories. There are jokes, and sarcasm, and naughty words.

My books are wide, you can find them anywhere. Just type in Sacha Black and I’m most active on Instagram, which is @sachablackauthor.

Joanna: Brilliant. Thanks so much for your time Sacha, that was great.

Sacha: Thank you for having me.

The post Lessons Learned From 3 Years As A Full-Time Author with Sacha Black first appeared on The Creative Penn.

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Author: Joanna Penn

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  • August 3, 2022