The inner workings of my biz… revealed

I’m often asked the question:

How do you have a successful business and screenwriting career and still have time to, you know, have a life?!?

Good question!

Here’s a never-before-shared, behind-the-scenes tour of my business…

What I do to make money.

: OBSESSED – my signature training program (in its 6th year!) that teaches entrepreneurs how to build an obsessed fan base for their work and get more sign-ups, sales and fan mail.

: VIP Days – I work with a small number of private clients through virtual or in-person VIP Days. These are typically sold-out, and slots open up when my schedule allows throughout the year.

: Screenwriting – I have a few scripts already in-development this year, meaning: I get paid to write.

: Miscellaneous – I occasionally host small group masterminds around a specific topic, like creating/batching content or publicity strategy. I also make money through two rental properties my husband and I bought ages ago and rent out for profit.

How long it took me to “get” here.

I need / must / want to underscore a very important fact:

It took time to get to a place where I can say, “A VIP day slot just opened!” or “Hey I’m offering this mastermind!” or “Obsessed is open for enrollment!” and have my bank account fill-up.

Over a decade of time, to be exact.

Time to build credibility in my field. Time to build respect, amongst my audience. Time to build a body of work—helpful content, useful tips—and a brand that people instantly recognize.

I’m not saying it’s going to take you a decade before you can turn a profit—of course not. My business was profitable from year two—just on a different scale, and with a different (read: way more stressful) model.

It also took several years for me to land a screenwriting gig. It’s a volatile industry—I never know where my next job will come from. Some screenwriters can have wild success and then never get paid to write anything again. So, while I’m writing a script, I’m always developing tons of other ideas and constantly networking so that I can try and secure my next opportunity. This takes time, effort, and serious resilience.

What I am saying is that sustainable success does not happen in 6 weeks, 12 weeks, or because of one “epic win.” It takes time.

But “putting in the time” can still be pleasurable and fun. 🙂

How I live my life.

I feel best when I live simply. Right now, my home base is Los Angeles because I need to be here for screenwriting. I try to keep expenses as minimal as possible so that I can invest in things that make me happy—things like taking spontaneous trips to Hawaii or Miami or Sweden, savoring good food & coffee, doing self-care Saturdays that sometimes include 5-hour brunches capped with massages and pedicures (bliss!)

I’ve tried the nomadic “live and travel wherever” lifestyle in the past, and it’s just not for me. I’m too much of an introvert homebody, and having a comfy home base is really important to me. As much as I love a weekend in NYC seeing a Broadway show and having late-night dinner with friends, I love even more coming home to my husband and three dogs, snuggling on the couch with lattes, and watching a movie.

How I run my business. 

My philosophy is: “It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.”

I am very careful not to waste money on things I don’t need. I don’t make a habit of indulging in expensive software or complicated systems. I have in the past, and it’s not for me. Also, the structure of my business (simple, personal, creative) means I don’t need to have complex systems and a ton of team members to manage it.

Speaking of having a “team,” I don’t have one. When I say “team,” I mean actual legal employees. I don’t consider independent contractors part of my team simply because a) they own their own business and b) California law has all sorts of red tape around independent contractors.

That said, I do hire contractors all the time—people who design, build my website, manage my email list, etc. I consider them partners, colleagues and friends. But they aren’t on my payroll, and they have their own lives, businesses and other clients. I respect that!

As far as contractors, it works best for me not to hire anyone unless I’m completely maxed out, or because there’s no way I would ever be able to do the particular activity I’m hiring for (because it’s completely out of my skill set and I have zero interest in learning.) I know that doesn’t work for everyone or every business model, so I’m not suggesting you do things this way. Every business operates differently. Also realize that about 60% (sometimes more) of my business is screenwriting, which I legally cannot outsource.

By keeping my life & business simple, I’ve found that, for me, this is what works. 🙂

How I make decisions.

Pretty much every business decision I make comes down to one question:

Will doing this feel pleasurable, or not?

When it comes to my work, “pleasure” is a combination of “freedom,” “flexibility,” “fun,” and “obsession.” Every project has got to have that spine-tingling x-factor that makes me want to stay up all night working on it… or it’s just not worth it.

Very few things feel pleasurable, like that.

Which means that I say no to a lot of things.

Even if saying yes would mean making more money.

For example, I often have people wanting to hire me to write their copy/content for their business (which is flattering & amazing). Could I work with these people? Sure. But my schedule would be  very tight, screenwriting & production deadlines constantly creep up, and that leaves me incredibly stressed and freaked out.

This is why I offer VIP Days instead, where I can be 100% focused on a client for a condensed amount of time, review their copy/content, and give helpful, valuable notes & suggestions (much like Hollywood studios & networks give me on scripts). This works incredibly well for both my clients (who love having my eyeballs all over their sales pages/emails, webinars, video scripts, newsletters, etc.) and for my own schedule, energy & creativity.

How I work, write & stay motivated.

I only check email twice per day.

I shut off my phone, email and social media if I’m writing.

I spend no more than 30 minutes per day on social networks.

I go on frequent sabbaticals to places where I have really focused time alone. I call these work-cations.

I take breaks if I’m feeling foggy, even if it’s just a 10 minute walk around the block.

Most of all, I don’t obsess over the size of my list, my social media following, my website traffic, or any of the noise that tends to drive business owners crrrrazy.

Numbers are just numbers. My focus is on quality & engagement. This means that I honor the people who are already hanging with me—rather than constantly trying to attract more, more, more!

I listen to my audience. I ask them what they need. I create offers & content especially for them. And then… they are delighted! It’s that simple.

What I don’t know …

… is how to build a multi-million dollar business—in 12 weeks or less!—that’s a total dream to run, working from your PJs, popping raspberry truffles into your mouth. That’s not something I’ve ever done—or seen anyone do, ever.

What I do know …

… is how to take a pleasurable approach to building a sustainable, successful & profitable business that’s low-stress and low-drama—and have plenty of time, energy & creativity to chase after (and achieve!) big opportunities like securing a book deal, or media coverage, or paid speaking gigs, or becoming a screenwriter or filmmaker.

If this sounds like the kind of life & business that you want, stay glued to your inbox—I have a fun announcement coming in the next few weeks.

You may just be “OBSESSED” with it.