September 30, 2021

Jasmine Womack is a writing consultant and coach at JasmineWomack.com. In today’s interview, I interview her about how writing your own book can help you grow your business.

Watch the video of my interview with Jasmine or read the transcript below!

Links

“Dirty Diversity” by Dr. Janice Gassam Asare JasmineWomack.com Jasmine Womack’s Instagram Deadline Funnel

Transcript

Jack Born: Hey, everyone. This is Jack born, founder of Deadline Funnel, and I’m here back again with one of our Deadline Funnel clients in the “Interview The Expert” series. So today we’ve got Jasmine Womack, and she’s gonna be sharing information about her business and I want to hear about, you know, how she came to be where she’s at. She has a very interesting background that we were talking about before we hit ‘record’, and it really ties into what she does now. So I can’t wait to dig into that, but what I’m really excited about is talking about storytelling, which is something that Jasmine knows a lot about. So Jasmine, great to have you here.

Jasmine Womack: Oh, thank you so much, Jack. Super excited to be here.

Jack Born: Yeah, so why don’t we start with your background? You shared with me before I hit record that you used to be a teacher, and so tell me about that. What made you switch, and how have you carried some of the training that you were delivering to students over into what you do today?

Jasmine Womack: Absolutely. So I was a middle school language arts teacher for 12 years. So over the course of those 12 years, I taught a combination of 6th, 7th, 8th, inclusion, high achievers. You name it, I’ve done it. I was a writing coach, did all types of things. And I actually come from a family of educators, so everyone on my father’s side are educators, my aunts, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins. And then I have a few educators on my maternal side as well, so it’s a generational trait that I’m gifted with. I initially got into online business and online marketing and creating a business through storytelling when I wrote my first book. So it had always been a goal of mine to write a book since college, but I didn’t have the confidence. I had some friends that were playing around with it, and they had kind of written and published some really amateur books. (chuckling) They were called “chapbooks” that were pretty much card stock, you know, and stapled together. And we would sell them at homecoming and all types of things. But I had been saying, “hey, I’m gonna write a book” for like 10 years, and I never did it because every time I tried, you know, perfectionism set in, you know, the English teacher side of me set in. And I was like, you know, I was editing as I wrote. So every time I would write a paragraph, I would reread it and try to edit it. And I was just in a cycle of (chuckling) stuck. I was in a cycle of being stuck because I really struggled to get out of my own way, but it wasn’t until- it was a couple, there were a couple of things that happened that actually propelled me forward. First, my assistant principal and mentor at the time- I was teaching sixth grade. Her daughter, who was in college, had written and self-published a book. And I was like, “oh my gosh. If this, you know, 21 year old can do it, why am I procrastinating? Like, really what is my issue?”

And so it was actually a few months after that, that I was placed on bed rest with my son. I was at risk of having a preterm, going into preterm labor at six months. And I was at home. I went to the doctor one day and then they were like, “you’re not going back to work tomorrow”.

So it was like overnight things shifted, and after about a week at home, I was like, “you know what? I need to have something to show for this time that I’m home.” Like I’m going to be home for a couple of months, this is something I’ve been wanting to do. I started, stopped, started, stopped, and I’ve been the one that’s been in my own way. And, I knew that it was something I was purposed to do as well. And so it was literally with a simple shift of mindset, you know, simple shift of believing in myself and saying, “listen, I’m not going to edit as I write. I’m just going to get it all out and give it to the editors.”

And that’s exactly what I did. And I wrote my first book in 12 days, and it was published shortly after. And the rest is history. Business started, and it never stopped or slowed down. So that was the beginning of it. And I was still working at the time. I ended up going back to work, and 18 months later, I hit six figures in my business while I was still teaching. And I went full-time into my business and haven’t looked back.

Jack Born: That’s fantastic. So what was the book about? What was the title, and who is it geared towards?

Jasmine Womack: So my very first book, it was called “Twenty Pearls of Wisdom: A Woman’s Guide To Self-Preservation”, and there’s no way that- I don’t even talk about it anymore, (chuckling) but it was for college women. It was for college-age women and, and young professionals. And, in the book, I talked about spirituality, personal development, relationship building, and networking and money management. So some of those core things that you need to know in your twenties to like really set a good foundation for your life, that, you know, that’s what it’s about. And I shared- the book was based off of 20 mistakes that I had made and the lessons that I had learned from it. And so I took that book and from that book, I created a 21-day challenge that launched at the beginning of 2019, and then I ran it for free. And then I was asked to run the challenge again, and this time I had a mentor in my ear that was like, “no way you should do that for free. That’s 21 days. You’re showing up live. You’re doing this. You’re doing that. At least charge.” I was so scared to charge, so I was like, “nobody’s gonna pay me for this. I’ve already done this.” I charged $10 and made my first $300 outside of my book. And I was like, “hold up now!” Like I made my first little $300 off of something that I already had created. I didn’t have to create anything new, and that’s when the light bulb clicked. And so I ran the challenge again, made $300, and then I turned that challenge into a monthly membership community that was focused on personal growth and development. When I turned it into a monthly membership community, that allowed me to replace my salary from teaching. So I was still teaching, but I had this business going on on the side that all stemmed from my book. And all of that happened, like literally within the course of six months.

Jack Born: What a story. That’s terrific. So I just, I just really enjoyed watching you, your joy as you remember the feeling of making that first $300. I mean, there’s nothing like it, right? When you, the first time that you make any sales online, you’re like, “oh my gosh, this actually works.”

Jasmine Womack: Right, because as a teacher, you know, I always had, I was always doing something on the side, like what I call a “side hustle”. So I always had some type of side hustle while I was trying to make some extra money because teachers generally don’t get paid a lot. And so there were some things that I wanted to do in my life financially and just some things that, some extra things that I wanted to do that my salary was not affording me at the time. And, you know, I held different jobs, working at cell phone stores and things like that after work. But now that, that was before marriage and before children. So now I was married. Now I had children, and I still wanted a way to supplement my income. And I never considered doing business online. Like it had never dawned on me until again, I was at, I was on maternity leave and I saw these people on Periscope, that was hot back then, making 30 and $40,000 per month off of digital products. And I was like, “hold up. How are you making $30,000 per month off of a digital product, and here I am with a master’s degree, a specialist degree and I am working my hands to the bone for, you know, $4,000 a month?” Like something has to change. That was kind of my introduction into online business to see what was possible at the time. And so, yeah, when I turned my book into that membership, and then I ran it again and charged for it, and then did, turn my book into a challenge, ran the challenge again and charged for it the second time, and I saw that I could get paid off of something that I had already created, it was just the light bulb. The universe opened.

Jack Born: That’s fantastic, yeah. So it sounds like you, you made a little bit of a, or maybe a major pivot and it’s a little bit different. So the book that you’re really started with is not the core of your business now. Can you talk about who you serve now and how you help them?

Jasmine Womack: Absolutely. So now I work with coaches, consultants, and service providers who want to use a book to grow their business from five to multi-six figures in revenue. So that’s what I’ve been able to do, and I absolutely find joy in helping others to be able to, to do that as well.

So when I first started, I just had my book and again, that turned into challenges and memberships, and then people who saw me and knew my background as an English teacher started asking me, “Hey, can you edit my book for me? Hey, can you help me publish mine? Can you help me write mine?” And so what started off as one simple as, not simple, like one product and it turned into, you know, online recurring revenue then evolved into a service-based business because people saw the success that I was having, and they wanted to duplicate that as well.

So initially I started off, it was just me, but then I quickly grew and ended up having a self- publishing agency where I was helping others to publish their books. And over time, even after I, you know, left teaching, I was still a teacher at heart. And so for me to pivot from the agency into coaching was just the natural next step, where I was, you know, then working with leaders to teach them how to do it themselves. And not just teach them the process, but helping them to package their expertise and merge their expertise with their story to create a high quality book that they could then use to build their business and generate leads. Like using their book as a lead magnet to get the credibility that they desire. And then on the back end, teaching them how to build out those book funnels and the premium price coaching programs so that their reader takes an entire journey from the book on into the next stage. So that’s what I do now but yes, that in a nutshell, that’s kind of how it evolved.

Jack Born: Well, congratulations. There’s so many angles that I could go down. Let’s focus on just for a little bit, the struggles that you had writing your book. I know that there’s a lot of people who would love to have a book, but the process of actually sitting down and writing the book sounds like something very fearful. Maybe someone’s tried it before. So, I know that for me personally, that’s something that sometimes I’ve struggled with. I get this great book idea, but then it doesn’t go anywhere. So how do you coach people to get out of their own way to get their book out of their head and onto the paper?

Jasmine Womack: There are a couple of ways, and it honestly just depends on where you are in business and which angle you want to take. So someone like yourself who already has a ton of content, you have a body of work. What I like to do is like, look at what you’ve already created that’s thematically related, whether it’s podcasts, whether it’s live streams, whether it’s articles, and let’s take that and we can transcribe them. (chuckling) Turn that audio into text, and then give it to an editor to, to allow them to edit it and tell you the spots and the areas of the writing that needs to be developed. So one of the biggest ways to get out of your own way is to remember that you are not an editor. Pay an editor, and let them do their job because they are going to let you know how to develop the, how to develop your writing, how to fill in the gaps and they’re gonna be that guide for you. So for coaches and consultants who already have a body of work, go look at your live streams. Look at podcasts that you have created. If you have blogs, you can pool blogs and take the ones that are either thematically related or can go in a sequence from one to seven or one to 10, you know, taking your audience on a sequential journey to actually accomplishing a result. Package them together, and turn that into a book. That’s the easiest way to just kind of get out of your own head and to actually get it done.

One of the biggest challenges that I see leaders face is that they tend to overthink the entire process, and they feel like, “oh, you know, this has to be super profound” and, you know, (chuckling) and all of the thoughts come in and “is this going to be good enough? What are people going to think about me?” and things of that nature. You know, what is the world going to think when I put this body of work out into the world? But you’re already putting work out into the world. And so now it’s just a simple, it’s a simple step to just take the work that you already have and package and present it in a different format.

Jack Born: So follow up question on that. What would you advise someone to expect when they go and hire an editor? Let’s say a top notch editor to really do a bang up job. And the reason why I ask this is because I’ve looked at some of the transcripts and some of the stuff that I’ve done, and that is the most raw material that I would just be chucking over the fence and saying, “please help me”. So how does it go from something that no one really wants to read because it’s in the transcript format, sounds great on audio, but transcript-wise, not so great, to finished book that’s nicely organized and makes sense.

Jasmine Womack: That’s actually a great question. So by no means, should anyone ever take a raw transcription and turn it into a book, right? The editing process, it’s called a process because it’s just that; it’s a process.

So you have to be ready, mentally ready, for a series of back and forth with the editor. Generally, editing is the most arduous part of the writing process, and I like to tell my students, “Listen, it’s a headache, but once you get it done. You don’t have to do it ever again. It’s done.” So it’s one of those things where you just kind of put your head down and get to it.

But one of the first things that you can expect is for an editor to do an initial proofreading and copyedit. And they’re going to give it back to you to make revisions. So this is where you can go in and make some of the basic revisions and really start filling in the gaps, developing some of the content, putting more details and examples, and even potentially telling more stories so that you can drive your teaching points home. So I would say with a great editor, you’re going to look at anywhere between three to five rounds of editing at the least, all right? So that means that you give it to them. They’re gonna make their edits, tell you the corrections to make, give you suggestions. You take it back. You sit down. You go through it with a fine-tooth comb. You make all those suggestions. You give it back to them. So it’s like a, it’s like a push-pull type of relationship for, for several rounds until the manuscript is clean. Now, a lot of this is done digitally, either through Word  Document Tracked Changes or Google Docs, but what you definitely want to do before you approve that final version is to print your manuscript off and go through it with a fine-tooth comb with, I would say, like colored pens.

Jack Born: There’s the teacher coming out.

Jasmine Womack: Colored pens, and you know, like have it bound in a notebook and go through it with some colored pens because your eyes will catch things on paper that it missed on the computer. So once you do that final, I call it a “deep edit”. That’s probably the deepest edit, which is when you do it on paper. And then transfer those corrections to the digital version and send it back to the editor.

Jack Born: So time and money investment, gimme just a ballpark of what we’re looking at on the editing back and forth.

Jasmine Womack: So it really just depends on who you hire as an editor. I’m blessed to know great editors who were former teachers, who now professionally edit. They edit dissertations and things of that nature as well. So of course, you know, on the independent circuit, it’s going to be a little bit more cost effective than if you go with the traditional publisher, editing on a main scale, so to speak. So a great editor, if you are self-publishing, you can probably look at around 50 cents per word.

Jack Born: So is a typical business book about 50 to 60,000 words?

Jasmine Womack: When you are traditionally publishing, yes. Now when you’re self-publishing, you don’t necessarily have to abide by any type of work counts or word limits. And one of the things that I teach my students is to focus on content, not length. One of the reasons is and I think that, you know, we all can probably attest to this, is having purchased a book from the bookstore and it’s full of fluff, or it’s the same thing over and over just said in a different way. And I don’t think that there’s anything worse than creating a book of fluff, just for the sake of saying, “hey, it’s long,” when you could have gotten to the point in 30 or 40,000 words and still have a 150 page book.

Jack Born: And we’ve all read those books that really could have just been one long blog post, but they turned it into a book.

Jasmine Womack: You tend not to finish those books. You read the parts you want to read, and then you close the rest. And you know, if you’re using your book as a lead magnet, you definitely want the reader to read cover to cover because you’re going to have some marketing points throughout the book that’s going to lead them to your website or to your email list. And of course, it’s helping to nurture the reader as well to get them prepared for the next step in the journey.

Jack Born: So I want to make sure I heard this right. Did you say, sorry, 50 cents per word, or 5 cents per word?

Jasmine Womack: I’m sorry, 0.05 cent per word. Yes, 5 cents. 

Jack Born: Five cents per word, okay. Alright, cool. ‘Cause I was thinking, “okay, even at 30,000 words, we’re”, I mean, you know, it is what it is, but I just wanted to make sure I heard that right. So about 5 cents per word, right?

Jasmine Womack: Yes, I apologize for that.

Jack Born: No, no, I, when I go back and listen again, I probably heard it wrong. Okay, well, that’s great. And then length of time, obviously it’s gonna depend on how the person who’s writing the book, how quickly they turn around what the editor sends to them. But I mean, what are you seeing in terms of, if someone is really motivated to, to work with the editor and they’re not dragging their feet, like what sort of timeframe are we talking about?

Jasmine Womack: I’ve had clients that have written books in six weeks, and they were very high quality books. And they took those books, they, you know, were able to package them with their corporate presentations. One of my clients, Dr. Janice Gassum Asare, she wrote her book called “Dirty Diversity.” And it was right at the beginning of, right in the middle of the pandemic. And so she was picked up by so many companies. She did some trainings with Amazon’s HR, and they ordered hundreds of copies of her book. (chuckling) So this is one of the reasons why I try to also stress to people listening, you don’t have to spend years writing your book. When your book is focused on solving a particular problem for a particular audience or particular client, you’re very clear on what that is and you have your system in which you share your framework and your solution. You can have a high quality book that you can use in conjunction with your speaking, in conjunction with your training, and also in conjunction with doing business and cultivating your leads. I just had another client, she wrote her book. Now it did take her close to a year to write her book because she wrote a compilation, but she just saw her first bulk order, you know, of like 600 books within the first two weeks of her release. So, and her book is a good 125, 150 pages, and she’s being picked up by colleges and universities across the country, all ready to, you know, come and speak and train and do presentations. So definitely focus on content. Focus on quality. 

Jack Born: Okay, that’s great information. So let’s, with whatever time that you have left, I’d love to dive into storytelling. So you taught storytelling as a teacher, and now you’re teaching business owners how to tell better stories. So where do you, like, what is a big tip that you see yourself repeating over and over that’s making a big difference for your clients in terms of stories that either you’re helping them find or locate? Just take it from there. What sort of advice would you give someone that you feel has made the biggest difference for your clients?

Jasmine Womack: Absolutely. So incorporating storytelling in your book, in your business is absolutely required. It’s absolutely necessary, but what you want to, what you want to avoid is telling trauma stories or focusing so much on your personal story, that, you know, that your point gets lost in the mix. So you want to tell a story, but you want to share the story in a way in which is going to connect to and relate to your reader. So that means that they must be able to see themselves inside of any example or any story that you’re giving. The other example that I would like to share is to always make sure that you align any story that you decide to tell with a point or takeaway. So this makes, this will ensure that you’re not getting caught in the story, but every story has a point. So before you write your book, you should ask yourself, “what is it, what is the number one thing or the number one lesson that I want my reader to learn by the time they’ve reached the end of this book?” What is the number one takeaway that I want them to have? And the stories that you select from your memory bank, from your life experiences, from your personal experiences, should align to or point towards that angle. And if it doesn’t, then it’s extraneous, and it’s unnecessary. So that’s the probably, that’s the easiest way to put it.

Jack Born: So that’s really, really great advice. In terms of story, do you recommend, for someone who already has a body of work, do you recommend including possibly case studies or stories of people who’ve had a transformation through either the system or the concept or the technology that’s being shared?

Jasmine Womack: Absolutely. So that’s one of the other strategies that I give my clients, and it’s also a strategy that I’ve incorporated in my most recent book. You don’t always have to use your personal stories. You can also use case studies, client stories, or you can pull on your memory bank or your experience bank and use stories from people that you know or whom you have had experiences with. So of course, you don’t give their names or any type of information that would reveal their identity, (chuckling) but, unless you get their direct permission, but the stories that you incorporate don’t necessarily have to be your own. They very well can be stories of others that you know and client results. And again, it’s all pointing towards that end goal. Is this experience, is this case study, is this anecdote that I’m sharing, does it align with the end goal, or is it going to drive the reader towards the end goal of the book?

Jack Born: Gotcha. This has really been, really been fascinating. You have my wheels turning about- maybe it’s time to scoop together all of those interviews that I’ve done and get it over to an editor. So I know I’ll be thinking about this over the coming days. So if someone is like me and they’re thinking, “this sounds great. I would love to take these interviews that I have or start going through this process, how would someone reach you or find more about you and what you do?

Jasmine Womack: Yes, definitely. So my website is Jasmine Womack, J-A-S-M-I-N-E W-O-M-A-C-K, jasminewomack.com. You can reach me on my website, and I am on YouTube, Instagram, @thejasminewomack on Instagram, where I share trainings weekly and on YouTube as well.

Jack Born: That’s great. Thank you so much for your time, and thanks for sharing your knowledge and your expertise.

Jasmine Womack: Thank you so much, Jack.