Hello fellow Purposeful Writers!
My name is Mahlena, and I’m here to say, I blog and I write in entrepreneurial ways!
As the title of this article suggests, blogging, and specifically writing my first book—Steve the Penguin—was the way I started my entrepreneurial journey. It wasn’t planned; I thought I would become an entrepreneur later by starting an online television network for young women. But the book came first, followed by two more books, 3 screenplays, 4 websites, 5 web series, and hundred of articles, all published through my company, Mr. J Media.
Maybe your journey as an entrepreneur will have some surprises, too!
Where My Entrepreneur Journey Began
In 2006, I was sitting in an airport with my mother, and I started thinking about what would happen at my 10-year high school reunion, which, at the time, would have been in three years. For weeks, I kept writing down ideas about characters, plots, conflicts, and sequels, until I made the decision to actually turn this concept into a book.
(BT-dubs, my actual 10-year high school reunion never happened.)
During that year, I listened to The Michael Baisden Show on the radio, and Mr. Baisden, an author of multiple books, lauded the idea of self-publishing. After hearing him expound on the many benefits, including control of your book’s cover art, I wanted to publish my book myself.
However, my friends and family thought that I should get an agent or a traditional publisher, because they would love my project. So I executed the ideas in tandem: I approached book agents, managers, and publishing companies with my novel idea, and I also submitted a related short story to writing contests hoping someone would take interests in my brilliance.
No one was interested.
So I decided to do it myself.
I purchased The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter, and I followed all the steps for completing my book and setting up my publishing company, Mr. J Media.
By this time, it was May 2007, and I had been blogging for a year as my book’s main character, Bianca Reagan, to build my audience. Keep in mind this was before the take-off of Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Through the relationships I created with other bloggers, I generated numerous reviews for my book before I officially published it in 2008. Steve the Penguin was featured in my local newspaper in St. Thomas, and it was distributed in two bookstores at home, as well as on Amazon.
Where I am Now In My Entrepreneur Journey
Ten years ago, I didn’t expect writing and publishing Steve the Penguin would have such a significant effect on my life. Now, in 2017, I recognize that deciding to share my voice with the world has shaped my mindset on what it means to be an entrepreneur.
In 2013, I published a sequel to Steve the Penguin, entitled Bianca Reagan: Where the Action Is. Then in 2016, I published my third book and first nonfiction work, LAST MINUTE GUIDE to APPLY TO COLLEGE. This book compiles the knowledge I acquired throughout my career as a university admissions coach and test prep instructor.
This year, I am writing my fourth book, a romance novel called Love at a Luau, which came as surprise to me as well. I didn’t plan on writing another book in 2017, but I was called to create this story after reading about multiple incidences of whitewashing of Asian and Asian-American characters in mainstream media. In Love at a Luau, the protagonist, KC, is a Southern California woman who happens to be Chicana, and two of her love interests are men of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.
I want to be the change I would like to see in the world.
I also want to help other creative women see it so they can be it.
Therefore, this Fall I started my business project Write Your First Book with Mahlena: I coach Lady Bosses and Mom Bloggers on how to Write Your First Book. If you have always wanted to become an author one day, then I help you make that dream come true.
Additionally, I’m developing a conference called “Camp For Nerdy Girls,” where creative women can collaborate and build media projects together. I plan to continue writing my fourth screenplay in 2018. And, I am devising ways to achieve my dream of becoming a Billionaire Mum.
It all started sooner than I expected, because I decided to write a book 11 years ago.
Fellow Purposeful Writers, we’ve talked about a lot today, so let’s recap. Writing my first book and blogging throughout the process kicked off my journey as an entrepreneur. I’ve published even more projects through my company since then. And I’m helping other women share their voices with the world. All because I transformed my idea into a novel.
Purposeful Writers, are you planning to write a book? Have you already written a book? Are you blogging while you write that book? How will your life change once you do write your book? Please share your process in the comments.
And, if you have more in-depth questions about blogging or about writing your first book, please email me at WriteYourFirstBookWithMahlena@gmail.com.
Thanks for reading!
Wow, Mahlena’s story about her entrepreneur journey is inspiring. Her story is proof that if you follow your dreams and commit to your goals, you too can write with purpose while sharing your stories with the world.
Thanks so much for guest posting to the Purposeful Writer community, Mahlena!