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James has been running a book publishing agency for five years, however, he has decided to resign from the contract, which bound him to work personally in the contracting party’s head office involving 80% of his time, in order just to find space for the implementation of his own projects and professional desires. In this interview you can read how he copes with the organization of work and what is particularly important for him.
What do you do and how long have you been in the market?
I have been running a book publishing agency since 2009. Previously, I was employed on the basis of a contract for work in a publishing house, but I wanted to execute orders for customers external to the company. This situation has motivated me to start my own business. Currently I am folding and publishing books, designing layouts, graphical design, logos, and besides this, I am an author too. One of my recent books has received an honourable mention, which is very nice and motivating. The moment in which people notice and appreciate what I do is important in my work.
Setting up a business is a big decision, but in your case it was a completely natural thing.
At one point a need to become self-employed emerged and I started my own business. In my life I made a few bold decisions which influenced my experience. One of them was the resignation of developmental work in the international environment, which I liked very much and at which there was a very nice atmosphere. At that time my dad’s dream was the degree in engineering in his family. I was just finishing the printing college and I was very practical. I decided to go to the university for Control Engineering and Robotics because I thought that it would be the future-oriented faculty. I abandoned work to study. However, after two years in spite of the great expectations of my family, I gave up the University of Technology and I began to study Photography and Multimedia at the Academy of Fine Arts because that was the faculty which suited me. At that time I had already a full-time job from Monday to Friday and I studied at weekends. Unfortunately, some course instructors did not take those classes and that time seriously. So I made another difficult decision to give up my studies and to follow my way. Obviously, I was considering what other people would think, and if I would not make somebody disappointed but in spite of this fact I did my own thing. In each of these places I have met a lot of interesting people and I have benefited a lot from that time. So I do not think that I have wasted time.
I have the impression that relations with people are your strength.
Probably, you are right. Relations are important in my professional career. Until recently, I have worked at a large publishing house, and I received an invitation to this job interview from the recommendation. The person, who recommended me, knew what kind of a person I am and how I perform tasks, as previously we cooperated and we had a chance to get to know each other.
Does it mean that staying on good terms translates into benefits in running your business?
I think so. I believe that a real relationship is one of the most important things. I have been running my own business for five years and I do not have a website, and despite this fact, new people and orders are appearing constantly. That proves that I am recommended. Recently I have resigned from the job, which occupied most of my time, but at the same time it was my main source of income. At the moment I focus on my projects and I feel that it is only now when I can achieve something. Until now, I have been overwhelmed with work and I could not fully implement my plans.
How do you feel with such a freedom?
Phenomenally. I have time for things that I have always wanted to deal with. I am starting to enter into themes that I am really interested in, such as logos, creation of children’s books, packaging design, production of things related to paper, pop-ups.
What were your expectations towards the company, when you set it up?
At the very beginning I even did not think about it. I set up business because it opened my path to the cooperation with different people. Only later some expectations appeared. I started thinking about agency work in search of printing offices. It was a driving force for new activities and thinking about my company. Step by step, I am going into the things that eventually I would like to deal with. At the moment I am inspired with the creation of logos. However, my biggest expectation is to be pleased with the projects that I release and to pass them on with satisfaction.
What do you think is the most important in running your own business?
The main thing is to be willing to work in general. Despite the fact that I have been dealing with books for many years, I like my job. In spite of the huge number of publications on the market, I can still see that I can do something interesting. I believe that I can create something special. I am aware that perseverance and fulfilment of the objectives that are essential to us are important. We need to strive to do this what we set down, to be consistent and act. I can see it on the example of my book, which starts to achieve first successes. When you decide to take some steps, it is worth moving forward because this is the way to achieve satisfaction. In addition, there is another important thing i.e. outsourcing of things that you do not feel comfortable with, just not to waste your time. I mean, for example, accounting.
How do you cope with motivation and organization of work?
I have never had any problems with the motivation to work. There are few things that pull me away from the performance of tasks. My interests are related to what I deal with professionally, so even if I view articles on the Internet they are related to my business. I have read many books related to the organization of work. Thanks to this, I have learnt certain behaviours. The basic thing to do is to share the things that I have to do for: very important, important and less important. I do what is the most difficult at the beginning of a day, when I have a fresh mind and good health. In the past I relegated hard things to second plan, but now I can be well-organized. I write a list of what I have to do and I cross out closed tasks. That idea works wonderfully for me because I tend to be very distracted and think about many things at the same time. If I did not have such a list, I would not do something because I would forget about it. This register is my external memory. Obviously, mobilization, which is very important is added to this. I know it’s easy to miss the time, so I have strongly encoded a belief that you have to work.
Can you say what you are proud of?
I am proud that I can work remotely because I have always dreamed about it. I have wanted to be an independent creator, who can work from anywhere in the world. I appreciate the fact that I do not have to go anywhere and I can do what I really like. I am proud of the decisions I have taken, despite the fact many people advised me against some things on my way. Over time, I became resistant to suggestions. I really like creative tasks, that space is created for me. I like to create. All the time I have a feeling that I am chasing something that I still have a lot to do.
What would you advise other entrepreneurs?
You should pay attention to the contacts and relationships because they bring profits in the future and have an effect on your business. I try to take care of good contacts with people. I focus on understanding and what I can be silent about, I am silent about because that’s my nature. Diligence and consistency in achieving the objective and organization of work, which I mentioned before are certainly very important aspects . It is worth paying attention to what we are good at, to develop and care for these areas, to care about what motivates us. I want to be better every time and prove to myself that I can move forward. This is my driving force. Thanks to this, I am developing myself.
Thank you for the interesting conversation and I wish you a lot of professional successes.