Monday, September 28, 2009

 

Sara Morgan, author of No Limits: How I escaped the clutches of Corporate America to live the Self-employed life of my dreams, launches her blog tour!


& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Sara would never have had a successful life in the computer industry if it hadn't been for THAT WOMAN. THAT WOMAN, the college guidance counselor, told Sara her Math skills were horrendous (OK, maybe she was a bit more tactful) and she shouldn't go into any Math-related majors. So what did Sara major in? Quantitative Business Analysis, with a minor in computer science, natch.

After college she used her computer knowledge in several industries including retail, health care, finance, government, and information technology. She's also written several technical books for the computer industry.

But it soon became apparent to Sara that Corporate America, and its complicated office politics, was not for her. She became a consultant, an experience that led to No Limits: How I escaped the clutches of Corporate America to live the Self-employed life of my dreams.

Sara and her children live in Louisiana's version of small-town America where she still pursues her first love--Artificial Intelligence. In the shadow of historical plantations, Sara works on developing robotic assistance to help senior citizens.

Find out more about Sara by visiting her website, www.nolimitsthebook.com, and the No Limits Ning community, http://nolimitsthebook.ning.com/.

No Limits: How I escaped the clutches of Corporate America to live the Self-employed life of my dreams

By Sara Morgan

Refreshingly candid and honest, this career-minded guide helps professionals determine if self-employment is their ticket to a better life. Written by a successful, independent software developer, rather than a career coach or consultant, this straight-to-the-point book offers readers practical and useful advice for how to get started on their path to self-employment. It also informs the reader what the major benefits to self-employment are, along with identifying who is best suited for self-employment and what things these people will need to consider.

The author, Sara Morgan knows from direct-hand experience how frustrating and un-inspiring the life of a Corporate employee can be. Four years ago she made the jump to self-employment and despite challenges, stayed true to her belief that a better, more fulfilling life lay ahead. She now lives the life she always dreamed of and she hopes to inspire others to take the remarkable path she has chosen. This book is not a "how to get rich quick" story. It is a "how do I maximize my potential and feel satisfied and happy with what I am doing in life" story.

Published by Custom Solutions, LLC (August 2009)
Paperback: 160 pages
ISBN# 0615299326

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Sara's book, No Limits, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end.

We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Interview by Jodi Webb


WOW: Tell us the story of how you went from expert in the computer industry to author of a book on self-employment?

Sara: That kind of happened by accident. I became self-employed 4 years ago and since then I have been navigating the waters of self-employment as an independent software developer, including writing five technical books for Microsoft. That was all going okay until I was hit with a personal tragedy. The man I considered the love of my life left me before our marriage even reached one year.

At first I was devastated. I mean, it was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. But, the oddest thing happened. Because I was self-employed and had already done many things to position my life in a way that was healthy and sustainable, I was able to take three weeks off and search my soul. At the end of that time, I realized that this was an opportunity and not the end of my life. I realized I could turn all of this into a life changing event and that just made me that much stronger.

I really doubt I would have been able to see it that positively if I had still been plugging away in some boring 9 to 5 corporate job. I never used to handle things like this well. But, now I was. So, I thought, I have to tell other people about this. I need to help other people get to this place. The kind of place where you can see life for what it really is and just appreciate it. So, I decided to write this book. And here we are.

WOW: Some writers I've met have gone the freelance route to have more flexibility and time with their family but then, get so obsessed with hitting that "goal income," they throw all those self-employment benefits away with constant work. What's the trick to maintaining balance?

Sara: Yeah, that is the trick. I too have been known to work harder and not smarter. But, what you need to do is position yourself in a life that is sustainable and realistic for you. This is something that may take time for some people. As for myself, it involved lowering my overhead and expenses by moving to the country and letting go of a lot of things I had become accustomed to but really didn't need.

WOW: But what about the downsides? What about the security that comes with a 9 to 5 job?

Sara: I fully reject the notion that a corporate job provides security. Haven't we all known someone who had their life ripped up from under them recently? They might have worked for some company for 20 years, but their life savings was taken away when some dishonest individual scammed them. I have a neighbor that lost his entire retirement to that Stanford guy. Now he has to start all over, when he thought it was "in the bank."

Nothing is for sure anymore. The only thing you can really control is yourself and at the end of the day. The only person really watching your back is you. So, to me self-employment is more secure than being susceptible to some random layoff or firing in Corporate America.

WOW: Now let's talk about the conception of No Limits. In your opinion, self-publishing is a better option than traditional publishing. Why?

Sara: Well, up until now I have published six books with two different traditional publishers. Now, keep in mind that I was publishing technical books and not mainstream or fictional books, but my experiences with publishers were not exactly pleasant and definitely not rewarding. I felt that I had to compromise way too much and work way too hard for very little reward.

I think the publishing industry is on the cusp of a major upheaval. Perhaps the biggest one ever. If I were working for a traditional publisher, I would be very nervous right now. For too long, traditional publishers just dominated the market like a monopoly, but the introduction of the Internet and other technical advances have meant that anyone (including myself) can produce a quality book out of their own home. We have figured out that we don't need publishers slowing things down and taking too much of the money.

WOW: Did you ever consider traditional publishing for No Limits or has self-publishing always been a part of your plan?

Sara: I did consider traditional publishing for this book, but when I failed to get an immediate response from any of the agents or publishers I contacted, I quickly shifted gears. I know how long it takes to get a book through the proposal stage and I knew what I was writing was timely material. I figured the only way I was going to give it the real chance it deserved was to self-publish.

WOW: I, for one, am glad you didn't wait around for traditional publishers to decide to take a chance on your book. But many authors self-publish a book in the hope that it will eventually be snatched up by a traditional publisher. If a traditional publisher came knocking would you send them away?

Sara: I doubt it, but who knows, because I know to never say never. I always like to keep my options open and consider all possibilities. But, I am having a blast and I just got picked up by a distributor and I signed on with a publicist. Things are really starting to move forward for me now.

WOW: Tell us about your impressive goal of selling one million books.

Sara: Well, I thought the goal fit nicely with the theme of the book, in which the only limits you have are the ones you create for yourself. I reject the idea that someone can't self-publish their book and sell one million copies. I think this is a really good book and I think it can help change people's lives. So, I really think one million people need to read it. Or, at least that is what I am hoping. Only time will tell for sure whether I am crazy or a genius.

WOW: What happens after you sell that million books? Is being an author a new chapter in your life--will there be additional books?

Sara: I would like to write other books. I would really like to write a book about my lovebirds, since I think they have a lot to teach the world about setting limits on those things we love. But, that is a whole story in itself. For now, I am sticking with promoting this book.

Also, I just signed up to be an independent garden consultant for The Happy Gardener. I was so impressed with their organization, that I decided I would enjoy doing that more than being a web developer. So, as of now, I am no longer a web developer, I am an author and garden consultant. YEAH!!!!

WOW: Love advice from lovebirds--wonderful. They could go on your book tour with you! And send me a Happy Gardener catalog. Gardening catalogs are the only thing that gets me through my snowy Pennsylvania winters.

Want to join Sara on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

September 28, 2009 Monday
Sara will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win a copy of No Limits!
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/blog.html

September 30, 2009 Wednesday
Sara will be visiting Readaholic. Stop by for some interesting thoughts from Sara and a chance to win her book, No Limits!
http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/

October 2, 2009 Friday
Pack your bags! Today, Sara Morgan visits New Zealand, Write To Travel, and shares how self-employment can be the key to a fulfilling life.
http://writetotravel.blogspot.com/

October 5, 2009 Monday
Sara stops by Joanne DeMaio's blog, Whole Latte Life, to show small business owners why a web presence is important to their success. Sara is also a web developer, so this should be an interesting discussion! Stop by and have your questions answered by an expert.
http://joannedemaio.blogspot.com/

October 6, 2009 Tuesday
Stop by Kathryn Vercillo's blog, Real Words from a Real Writer, today and read a book review of No Limits, plus an interview with Sara. Also, enter to win a free copy of No Limits!
http://kathrynvercillo.com/blog/

October 12, 2009 Monday
Sara visits Stacie Connerty's blog, The Divine Miss Mommy, to talk about Self-Employment: The Key to a Fulfilling Life.
http://thedivinemissmommy.com/

October 15, 2009 Thursday
Sara visits Meryl's Notes for a surprise guest post! Stop by today and see what these two are up to.
http://www.meryl.net/section/blog/

October 27, 2009 Tuesday
Sara stops by Annette's Paper Trail to share her journey from being the corporate drone to being the boss. Not to miss!
http://www.annettefix.com/

We may have several more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to participate in Sara Morgan's blog tour, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Sara's book, No Limits: How I escaped the clutches of Corporate America to live the Self-employed life of my dreams.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

 

Free eBook Manifestos!

If you haven't heard of ChangeThis, you should definitely check it out. It's great on so many levels. If you are an author looking to promote your book, you should consider submitting a proposal for a manifesto to buzz your book. If you are someone like me, who simply enjoys free ebooks, then you'll delight in the variety of topics the ChangeThis e-books provide. They're not your typical run of the mill stuff. Yes, they are fairly short, about 5-18 pages, but they are chockfull of information/arguments presented in a gorgeous package. The designers are awesome! I can see why they get a lot of proposals.

ChangeThis encourages readers to pass it on. Their manifesto states they don't have a business model. Their goal isn't to make money. They state, "The goal is to make a difference." And, I think they are doing just that.

Here are three of my Manifesto picks! You can download them right here, see if you like them, and then head over to ChangeThis to pick up some more. Sign up for their newsletter and they'll notify you when new ones come out.

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Escaping Corporate America
Changing Your Career Can Change Your Life
By Pamela Skillings

If you're like most Americans, you're going to spend more than 100,000 hours at work over the course of your lifetime. That’s probably more time than you'll spend with your best friend, the love of your life, or your cherished offspring. So, wouldn't it be a shame to waste the majority of those hours on work that annoys you or, even worse, makes you downright miserable?

This Is Not My Beautiful Life

Over the years, I've talked to a lot of disgruntled corporate employees. I worked in the corporate trenches myself for more than a decade and spent several more years interviewing and coaching corporate escapees. I've learned that people tend to stay stuck in jobs that don't inspire them for one of five common reasons (and sometimes it's a combination of a few). Do any of these scenarios ring a bell for you?

You believe that it isn't possible to actually love your work.
Some of us have been taught, by conservative parents or disapproving guidance counselors, that jobs are strictly ways to earn money. You're not supposed to enjoy your time in the salt mines, really. As a result, you may have ended up in a career that looked good on paper, but offers little fulfillment.

You're not sure what you want to do with your life.
For many of us, our careers just sort of happened. We took a "temporary" gig until we could figure out what we wanted to do for our "real" careers. Then, we woke up years later to realize that we were stuck in careers and lives that we never planned or wanted.

You're having a mid-career crisis.
Maybe you once loved your career, but the thrill is gone. You've stopped learning and growing, lost interest in your current field, or are otherwise ready to move on. But you're afraid to take a chance on something new--or you're confused about which direction to take from here.

You're too busy working to make time for a career change.
If one of your complaints is that your job is overly demanding, it can be difficult to carve out enough time to eat and sleep, let alone start working toward a new career. Instead, it can be tempting to put off change until some imagined day when you will magically have plenty of time.

It's all about the money.
There is no shame in caring about money. We all need money to live--some more than others. It isn't shallow to enjoy what money can buy. We all have different priorities and different ideas of what makes life good. You may value a high salary because it gives you the ability to put your kids through college, support your favorite charities, or just take nice vacations and see the world. The problem comes when you trade too much for a high salary. There are ways to make money that don't require selling your soul.

Did any of these ring a bell?
Download the solutions and the full ebook here.

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Mini Sagas: Bite Sized Lessons For Life and Business
By Rajesh Setty

I love this! Both visual and inspirational. Each story is comprised of 50 words with a picture. I love the tight word limit. What a great exercise! We should do our own mini-sagas sometime.

In this photographic manifesto (the first in ChangeThis history) Rajesh Setty has compiled 15 mini sagas from his collection. Each 50 word story is packed with a lesson on life and/or business.

#13 The Missing Piece

I was at a writers' conference earlier this week. The moderator asked for people to list their expectations from the conference. The expectations ranged from wanting to sell more books to building a good network.

What was strikingly missing was that nobody said "I want to become a better writer."


#10 Lost

Bob was totally lost. He was frustrated. His problem was simple. He couldn't figure out where exactly he was. Naturally, he was clueless on the direction or the distance of his destination. After struggling a bit, Bog realized what the real problem was--he was carrying the wrong map!


#2 The Book

John loved the library. That day, he was engrossed in a book. He hoped to finish reading it completely. It was almost the end, and then...there was a surprise--the last section was missing. Alas, John thought, this book is close to real life. You don't know what happens next...

Okay, while you can tell the guy that wrote this book isn't exactly a writer, I love the concept, and the design. A photo-journal, or "mini-saga," as he calls it. Super idea. I'd love to see more of this!
Click to download the full ebook manifesto here.

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How to Sell a Book (or Any New Idea)
(STEP 1 IS THE HARD PART)
By Seth Godin

My friend Fred has a new book coming out and he was trolling around for new marketing ideas. I think he’d be surprised at this:

Sell one.

Find one person who trusts you and sell him a copy. Does he love it? Is he excited about it? Excited enough to tell ten friends because it helps them, not because it helps you?

Tribes grow when people recruit other people. That’s how ideas spread as well. They don’t do it for you, of course. They do it for each other. Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work. If Fred’s book spreads, then he’s off to a great start. If it doesn’t, he needs a new book.

You don’t get to take step 2 if you can’t do step 1.

Click here to download Seth Godin's latest manifesto.

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These are just a sample of some of my picks. I haven't had time to read them all--there's quite a lot! If you are an author and want to submit a proposal, follow this link: http://changethis.com/submit. If you just want to see what's available for download, go to: http://www.changethis.com

What a fun find!

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