This week’s guest is Rachel Smets, a nonfiction writer based in the Netherlands. Rachel is the author of Awaken Your Confidence, and in this interview, we find out how researching successful people for her book helped lead her to her own success.
Originally from Belgium, Rachel Smets now lives in the Netherlands. She spent 15 years traveling and working abroad, speaks six different languages, and now works as a coach, language instructor, speaker, and inter-cultural trainer. Her debut non-fiction title Awaken Your Confidence came out on Amazon in August of 2016.
Her professional life has been in the corporate world, but a few years ago, she started to really examine what it was she wanted to do with her life. Given that she really enjoys working with people and had spent so many years living in other countries, she really wanted to expand on that and so decided to write a book.
Awaken Her Confidence
Once Rachel made the decision to write her book and self-publish, she began to research everything she could on the process. She talked to other authors on social media, she watched YouTube videos, listened to podcasts on self-publishing and writing, read books, etc.
Then she sought out the help of a coach to help her plan out her project to completion, keep her focused, and more importantly, to keep her encouraged.
For her book, Rachel interviewed in depth 15 successful people from varied backgrounds, including Steve Scott, on their personal journeys to success and how confidence played a key in their success. In doing her research, Rachel applied many of the strategies her subjects talked about to her own creative work life, and eventually built a wonderfully written book that has 28 reviews and a five-star rating.
Rachel is quick to point out that the book’s success is not measured in dollars — this is her first book after all, she says humbly — but in the connections it has built for her, and the authority it has given her. Because of her book, she is being contacted more and more for her teaching and consulting services, serving as a compelling and impressive business card.
Learning from Success
“Being successful is really hard work.”
Rachel says she discovered pretty quickly that the road to publishing her first book was a challenging one. “The writing is actually the most fun part of the book,” she laughs, “but it’s the before and the after that non-authors do not realize because I was one of them. I did not realize all the things that were involved.”
Between learning how to build her own website, managing content-marketing through her social media accounts, doing personal email outreach to people, or any of the hundreds of other things independent publishers must manage these days, Rachel readily admits that it’s a hustle. “Being successful is really hard work.”
But it’s satisfying work and work worth doing. “Every challenge is an opportunity because you create new things, you learn.”
She admits she probably should hire someone for some things, but she prefers to take control. “I like to do things on my own and then be able to say, hey, there you go, I did it.”
Advice to New Authors
“Surround yourself with supportive people and people that know what you’re doing.”
Having a support team of people who understand what you’re trying to accomplish, especially those who are also working towards the same goal or have been successful in accomplishing that same goal, will serve you well as both inspiration and sage guidance.
And just don’t give up, Rachel says. “You will be proud of the result.”
- Break down your current project into mini-goals. As Rachel talked about, confidence comes from taking action repeatedly, and action can be taken in very small steps. Identify those very small steps and commit to accomplishing them a little bit each day. One of these small steps can be setting up your Amazon Author Page. You all know who you are! Take 15 minutes and get it done!
- Make a honest personal assessment on how well you’re taking care of yourself. Rachel noted a common thread with all of the successful people she interviewed for her book is that they took time to balance their productive successful lives with conscientious self-care. So if you’re tired or feeling blue or run down or irritable or struggling to break past 2,000 words a day, take a moment to take stock of what’s really going on. Maybe you just need a nap! Or you need to get out for a run, or have a relaxing afternoon at the local cafe with a cup of coffee. 🙂
- Identify something that you really want to learn or do, but are a little afraid to try…then just do it. Like a Band-Aid…rip it off! Break it down into little steps and take actions on each of those steps one at a time. Repetition is key, Rachel stresses. Facing your fears, facing your discomfort through repetition will turn things that seem scary into things that are comfortable and enjoyable. If you keep doing something, eventually scary becomes ordinary…like pushing that “Publish” button. 🙂
- Sign up for Rachel’s newsletter at her website and receive a free mini ebook on her best confidence hacks.
What aspect of your book business most terrifies you as a creative that you know you simply must do one day, and what past dragons have you slayed?
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