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Meet Nola Lee Kelsey: Book Publisher and Telecommuter

Posted by Valencia on February 22nd, 2009

I enjoy working from home. And if this meant juggling two or three freelance gigs to make it happen, I’m up for the challenge. Other work at home professionals share my sentiments. Personally, I know several freelancers who have their eggs scattered amongst many baskets. I know a daycare owner who also operates a home-based travel business and a freelance writing business. And there’s a freelance writer who also dabbles in photography and online sales.

But to work from home, you don’t have to be a freelancer or own your own business. Many corporations and companies recognize the benefits of hiring telecommuters, who are essentially work at home employees. And if you’re looking to break out of corporate America and do your own thing, finding a telecommute position with flexible hours can be the solution to your problems. Work a few hours for your employer, and then devote a few hours to your business. That’s exactly what Nola Lee Kelsey does?

Nola is the owner of Dog’s Eye View Media, a publishing company - and she works as a telecommute inbound sales rep for another company. As someone who juggles multiple gigs from home, I thought Nola was the perfect person to interview on this subject.

1. Tell us about your business?

I actually work two businesses out of my home. My publishing company, Dog’s Eye View Media, is beyond a full-time job in itself. However in order to earn extra money for marketing and promotion, I also work on commission taking inbound sales calls for a horse products company. I keep two desks next to each other in a corner. Two laptops, two sets of paperwork, inboxes, out boxes, reports . . .

When the phone rings, I see which desk the maniacal noise is coming from, point my chair that direction and try to remember the name if the business I am answering for. Occasionally I get it right. Then once I’ve processed an order for either company or handled whatever issue needs dealt with, I go straight back to writing, networking or marketing for Dog’s Eye View. It’s never dull.

2. How do you promote your business?

Dog’s Eye View is a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association, which offers a variety of marketing opportunities and cooperative catalog ventures. In addition smaller display and classified advertisements are placed online and in periodicals appropriate to the subject of whatever book campaign I am working on.

Of course there is still a lot of the good old fashioned (?) letter writing, book signing, being interviewed, emailing marketing and social networking taking place too. If you want to succeed you have to be able to develop and nurture your own leads and contacts, not just sniff around traditional marketing opportunities with the rest of the pack.

3. Did you make any mistakes in the beginning? If so, what were they and how did you learn from them?

Mistakes! Are you kidding? Mistake spelled backward is learning. Okay, maybe not, but you know what I mean. Everything in building a business is a learning experience. You know you’re growing when rookie moves cease and bigger more complex mistakes take you to a new level of learning. If you’re not making mistakes, you’ve either stopped growing or aren’t thinking far enough outside the box.

I remind myself of this quote often. “Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people”. - Randy Pausch ( 1960-2008 )

I truly believe people who quit when they hit the walls will never succeed. People who learn lessons from slamming head-on into walls are bound succeed - or die trying.

4. How do you balance work, household chores, hobbies and children?

It’s easy. I don’t. Don’t pressure yourself to be Martha Stewart if you not trying to knock off her business. My son is 23 and has his own home. My house is a mess and if I don’t get to the dishes right away the darn things never seem to leave on their own.  I have always been a terrible homemaker. Why would I fake it now? I’ve got enough going on.

If there is someone in your life that judges you by your homes appearance (and/or being in your robe at noon) over your work ethic, odds are they have a very dull life. Lock the door and adopt some humpy little dog, so they’ll stop coming over. Build your life and then hire a housekeeper or nanny. Like I said, the dishes just aren’t going anywhere.

5. What future plans do you have for your business?

I love what I do, the writing most of all. Ideally I would only need to research and write the books or compile anthologies full time. Nonetheless, if I do need to continue doing every aspect of publishing myself, life is still a hoot.

Since I don’t need to be rich to be happy, I just want Dog’s Eye View to make enough money that I don’t have to work that evil second phone line. I guess I also demand that my business maintain a standard of brining the world intelligent humor/satire books that remind people to think, smile and laugh at life’s little tricks.

6. What advice would you give to new (and aspiring) work at home professionals?

Just do it! But, be prepared to really do it. Grab on and dig in 24/7, making your work your life. You should note that this type of all-absorbing commitment is only maintainable long-term if you truly love what you do.

Working from home is not an excuse for flaking around, working part time or watching daytime television. You should also accept that others won’t get it. They see you at home and assume you have time to play or must have a flexible schedule. Beware their guilt trips. Embrace being seen as selfish, because failure is the other option. And finally realize, you will now be home to mess your house up, but you still will not have the time to clean it. Get over it!

–Thanks for your time!


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