It was 2009 and J.J. Hebert had been working on his debut novel, Unconventional, for over a year during the night hours while also working at his day job. He was feeling burned out from working well over 80 hours per week. The book was finally published in July 2009 and quickly shot up the Best Seller charts on Amazon. His day job came to an end when his employer decided to shutter unexpectedly. Hebert used this to his advantage. He was able to focus solely on his writing and building his business. In 2010, he opened the doors of his media and publishing company, MindStir Media, to the public, which allowed authors to work with him directly on their book projects. He used his bestseller status as a differentiator between his company and others offering publishing assistance.
“There were other companies out there providing author services but none of them were promising mentorship from a bestselling author,” Hebert said. “The mentoring set MindStir Media apart from all the other companies. Having a successful book under my belt changed everything for me. It’s the ultimate credibility booster for any business owner.”
Since 2010, Hebert has published over 600 titles and has authored four #1 bestsellers himself. MindStir Media was recently endorsed by Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington and was also ranked as the #1 self-publishing platform and company by BestTechie and Penny Matters, among others.
J.J. Hebert’s full interview is as follows:
What gives you energy?
Creativity gives me energy. Whether that’s creating a book idea and writing it down or creating a business concept and implementing it, creativity gives me a major boost in energy. If I’m not being creative, I generally feel lethargic and purposeless.
What’s your secret life hack?
Personally I handle the items at which I’m skilled and outsource everything else, as much or as often as possible. For instance, I’m not much of an editor myself, so I always outsource that to another professional.
What is your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My greatest challenge was finding the confidence I needed to face rejection and push through it. Authors are rejected often. An author pursuing traditional publishing (I delved into this for a while) will likely face actual rejection from literary agents and/or publishers. I know I did. I had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and publish my debut book, Unconventional, no matter what I heard from the critics. Publishing “Unconventional”, taking control of my life and having it become a bestseller was a defining moment for me and my career and business. I’ve used my authority as a bestselling author to land major clients and help other authors find success by growing their businesses, too.
Name a book that changed your life.
The 4-Hour Workweek changed my perception on virtual workers. Sure, I had been working with editors and designers virtually, but I knew I needed to ramp up my customer service in order scale. I didn’t necessarily want to hire 20 or 30 reps, so I used the techniques in The 4-Hour Workweek to hire a team of virtual assistants to help my clients with the publishing process. I’ve been working with my highly trained virtual assistant company for nearly a decade. They’ve worked on hundreds of book publishing projects and, through my direct training, I consider them as experts.
Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
I believe in work-life balance, so I have one cell phone for business and another for personal use. I only turn on my business cell phone during work hours. And, no, I don’t sleep with my personal phone, either.
How do you deal with email?
I outsource much of it to my virtual team but I do answer emails personally during certain hours of the day. I try to spend no more than an hour on emails every other day. I usually find emails very unproductive and it can be a real time-waster if you’re not careful.
You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
I usually try to do something creative that I’ve been putting off. Maybe write an article or work on a business concept.
When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
I’ve struggled with feeling burned out throughout my career. The feeling usually hits me when I’ve been working on too much tedious work and not enough creative work. When I find myself in that situation, I try to flip the script as quickly as possible and focus on something that gets my creativity juices flowing.
Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations