Welcome to another indie author interview with one of my 2018 clients, Clare Cogan of Creating Calm.
Clare is an author and the founder of Creating Calm. She supports and guides women who are struggling, within their business and maybe with life too, feeling that the onus is on them to get ‘unstuck’ or change their ‘mindset’ to improve their lives and be successful. She creates supportive opportunities to understand more about following a ‘your business, your rules’ approach to stop the drowning in the ‘shoulds’ and the comparison with others. Clare’s debut book, Building a Thriving Therapy Business – The Secrets to My Success: How to Be Yourself to Attract Clients into Your Life was published in February 2018. It charts her journey from qualifying as a reflexologist and slowly building her business whilst bringing up a young family. Her desire to write this book evolved from a passion to help other women realise that you don’t have to follow a formula or a process to be successful, following a passion and your gut feeling is what really matters in your business, which is totally intertwined with life, they are not separate entities.
Michelle: Hi Clare, and welcome. First things first, congratulations on becoming an author! How did it feel to see your book for sale on Amazon for the first time?
Clare: Pretty surreal! It was something my mind could not quite make sense of for a while, a bit like the first time somebody said they found my business on google. You are out there, in the real world, people know about you. I moved from it being surreal to being scary because people were then able to read about my life and my vulnerabilities, that really can be a scary place to be, when you are completely open and honest.
Michelle: It certainly can be scary, but it’s something that fills you with confidence afterwards, too, I think, doesn’t it? As a busy entrepreneur and mum, how on earth did you find the time to your book?
Clare: Okay, this is a difficult one to answer, as the answer is so simple, and I know that people will think, well it can’t be that easy! I literally made a commitment to write for 20 minutes per day. I had a target word count of 30000 words and found that when totally focused for those 20 minutes, I could get around 1000 words written. Once I realised that, I was spurred on to keep writing, as I could see the word count rise rapidly. As a consequence, I managed to finish the first draft of the book in 3 weeks, and as I was so close to the end I was motivated over the last weekend to just sit and finish it.
I continued writing because I enjoyed it, it was helping me make sense of my business journey to date, the decision I had made and where I also wanted to go in the future. It also made me realise that some of the things I thought I was passionate about did not light me up anymore, it was a very cathartic process.
Michelle: That’s a perfect example of how a little writing every day can get your book finished, so thanks for sharing that with us. Can you tell us a little about your target audience? Who is your book written for? How will your book help them and what can they expect to learn once they’ve read it?
Clare: Originally this book was written for therapists, who have all the qualifications but are struggling to figure out how to make an actual business work for them. That was because this was my journey, I had the certificates but that was the tip of the iceberg, to grow a business requires tenacity, determination and an absolute passion and drive for what you do. Often therapists will go off and get more qualifications (me included) because they believe it will help them grow a bigger, more thriving business, but I want to share that it doesn’t work that way, personal development is fundamental to any success in growing and maintaining a business.
As a consequence my remit of readers has expanded, I believe this book is totally relevant to any woman business owner who wants to understand how raising a family, experiencing grief (one of the most fundamental life changing human experiences) and not following a formula or a ‘how to’ can be the epitome of success when we share our vulnerability and not hide away from it. It is a ‘no holds barred’ book, I share my lowest moments as well as moments of clarity and I am still learning.
Michelle: I totally agree. Your book is fundamentally helpful to any woman running a business. I gleaned so much helpful tips and advice from it, especially the insights into how you can work with your own formula instead of ‘THE FORMULA’. Now you’ve gone through the whole book-writing and self-publishing journey, would you recommend writing a book to any of your entrepreneurial friends?
Clare: Absolutely, without question. Someone once said we have a book in all of us, and that is true. When my book was published, I said to my husband ‘is writing a book a big deal?’ because everyone was so lovely and supportive and were actually buying it! He said yes it was, and I believe this is because so many of us have a desire to do this. It is not only a way to share your message to the world, it is also a therapeutic process in itself. Since writing this book, my business has yet again evolved and changed as I came across so many realisations when putting pen to paper.
Writing and self-publishing your book is an additional tool at your disposal. It is a talking point, people are interested, they want to know more about you and what leads you to do what you do. This book stopped me hiding away. I have always believed that ‘people buy people’ and to be absolutely myself (even with my photo on the front cover which I never would have anticipated doing) has helped me connect with so many people who have been inspired by my journey.
Michelle: That’s great to hear. Do you have any advice to other entrepreneurs who are thinking of writing their business book but never quite get round to it?
Clare: Honestly, I listened to others about when was the ‘right time’ and the answer is, there never is a right time to write your book. I wrote it this way because it suited me, and my personality, when I decide to do something I pretty much get on with it! If that is you then yes, dedicate that 20 minutes per day and see where it takes you. Don’t have any expectations of yourself though, let it evolve. I kept going back to it because I loved writing it, those 20 minutes made me feel like I had achieved something in my day, it was such a productive use of time and I was disappointed when I had finished it!
I truly believe that you have to evolve into writing your book, it is not something you can ‘make happen’, I believe the reason mine was written so quickly was because it was at the forefront of my mind, and ready to come out! If we try and force something which is not ready it will feel like walking in treacle. I also viewed my writing like telling a story, so it did not have a structure, or chapters, I believe that helped me stop overthinking and just let the words flow.
Michelle: Do you have any more books in the pipeline for the future?
Clare: Yes, I have 2000 words written of my next book which focuses in on a powerful life experience I have had and many can relate to. I haven’t got into the ‘flow’ of writing this one yet but it will come when it is ready, I am sure of that. Now I have written the first I am not so scared of the second, or the third, they are all in my head ready to be put out there in the future.
Michelle: Fantastic! You’ve definitely got the book-writing bug, then! And finally, can you tell us a bit about your book?
This book is my honest and open telling of my story, from qualifying as a reflexologist in 2007 (the week I found out I was pregnant with my second son) to the realisations of building a business, how it isn’t just about the flow of clients through the door, it is absolutely about looking after yourself, and not relying on others to tell you ‘how’ to build a business. There will be things which feel logically right but unless you feel that they are absolutely what you desire to do, then very often they can fall by the wayside. My book charts my realisations of this, and my evolution into something I could never have anticipated, or planned. It also reflects my journey alongside bringing up my family, working part-time and trying to make everything work together, as our lives, and our businesses are all interconnected.
Michelle: Thanks very much, Clare, and all the best with your book. We can’t wait to read your next one!
You can connect with Clare via her website or on Facebook: