Closing OutI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM1957 – CEO Helps Clients Grow Businesses Through Books Production

Podcast Interview with Meredith Eaton

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode, the guest is Meredith Eaton, CEO of Eaton Press. Eaton Press is a self-publishing services company for non-fiction writers. With nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry, Meredith assists business owners in writing and producing books that help grow their businesses.

Key Points:

Eaton Press Services: Eaton Press offers a comprehensive, custom 6-month Executive Publishing Program that guides clients from book idea to a finished, published work. The program includes writing consulting, coaching, editing, as well as production services.

Mastermind: Apart from the signature program, Meredith also conducts a 12-week Publishing and Publicity Mastermind. Conducted with a PR expert, the mastermind aims to help clients develop marketing plans and increase visibility for their books.

CEO Hack: To improve her productivity, Meredith revisits her processes and systems every six months. She also uses Rocketbook to help keep track of her ideas and thoughts.

CEO Nugget: Her advice for business owners is to accept mistakes, learn from them, and move past them as quickly as possible.

CEO Defined: For Meredith, being a CEO means having both freedom and obligation at the same time.

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Transcription:

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Meredith Eaton Teaser 00:00

The program, which is a writing bootcamp, because I found that a lot of my clients have the best of intentions but they can't finish the book. They just can't stay on it. They get distracted.

They need a lot of handholding and a lot of accountability, but not necessarily a lot of coaching.

Intro 00:18

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long intervIew?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:44

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focusing on finishing it out, fighting the good fight and closing out the job. I think just as important as it is to start something, it's even more important in how you conclude it or finish it out. So if you think of the different things that you can finish out, it could be everything from a project, it could be from a day, it could also be from a business in and of itself, and it could also, of course, be for the year. So when you think of finishing out, I want you to really think of these episodes because what we're going to really focus on is the last question that we really ask, which is defining what it means to be a CEO.

And all the creative, innovative, and I think truly insightful questions that we received from this question is really what we want to highlight during the show. But of course, we want you to enjoy the entire episode and think about how you're going to finish things out and how you're going to finish things out strongly. So sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and have a very special guest on the show today. I have Meredith Eaton of Eaton Press. Meredith, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Meredith Eaton 02:16

It's great to be here. Thanks so much for having me.

Gresham Harkless 02:19

No problem. Super excited to have you on. Before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Meredith so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing.

Meredith is the CEO of Eaton Press, a self-publishing services company for nonfiction writers. Meredith has been in the publishing industry for nearly 10 years and has also spent much of the last 15 years as a corporate storytelling trainer. Prior to moving into publishing.

Meredith worked for nearly a decade as a management consultant for small businesses and nonprofit organizations and brings that experience to help her clients produce books that will grow their businesses.

Meredith, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Meredith Eaton 02:57

I sure am.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:58

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I want to rewind the clock a little bit, hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story. We'll let you get started with your business.

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Meredith Eaton 03:06

All right, cool. So my CEO story it's two pieces. One is how I'm a CEO in general, and that is that I do not do great with authority. I don't like people telling me what to do, but also I still like structure and I still like organization. So, I just need to create it myself. It's really what I learned about myself. So that's why Being a CEO of a company versus just if I really couldn't handle authority or structure, there's a lot of other things I could do. Freelancing, travel blog or whatever which went really good. So that's put me on the path to being a CEO. How I ended up as the CEO of Press specifically is that it really is a culmination of my whole career in a really interesting way in a way that I find fascinating and hopefully other people do too.

I started out at working in nonprofit right outta college. I got a job in nonprofit doing sort of administrative executive assistant type work. It was great except for the parts at work, which is having bosses and having everything be a team. In the nonprofit, stuff is its own whole thing of ethos and culture and everything. So I went back to school, got my master's in organizational management, which I love. I loved learning about the structure of companies and how people work together. That's really where I started to realize I really needed to be in charge and not working for other people.

So I started my first company, I was about 27, and I was a management consultant for nonprofits specifically. So loved a lot of things about it. Had a lot of successes, had a lot of failures. Ultimately, the failures won out, as they often do. I found myself really burnt, really just tired of being in charge, of being in control. So I took an office desk job. I just wanted to sit, and for the first time in my life, I wanted someone else to tell me what to do all day. I didn't want to think anymore. Because that's the other part of being a CEO you're responsible for people. So it had gotten to be too much for me.

So did that job for a couple of years and then stumbled into this role of self-publishing. My dad was easing into retirement. He'd been running his own company for about 35 years as a sales trainer. He wanted to do a book that would transit, help that transition into retirement. So I was helping with it. Then my uncle was like, so I'm writing a book. Can you help me do mine? I was like, okay, yeah. So I was like, this is neat. This is a thing and I'm learning and I like that. It's creative and behind the scenes during all of this, I had been also been working as a, not working, but performing as a storyteller, doing true stories in the Washington DC area with a group called Story District.

At the time it was Speakeasy DC in case anyone remembers in the audience from that. But yeah. So, I love that. I love the performing. I love the creative. So I thought, oh, publishing. This will be great. So I decided to start a company. I was tired of working for someone else. Started setting up a company. I went into fiction because that's what I read. That's what I liked. It turns out you don't like working in fiction. It has so much art and so much emotion and so little structure. So then I figured out, okay, I'll do nonfiction. I'll work with business owners. Not only is it structured and stuff, but I can put my own experience to work as a business owner, as organizational management, all that kind of stuff.

So that's what keeps me grounded all the time, is remembering I built this, like everything I did brought me here, and that helps me guide the company as well, so.

Gresham Harkless 06:41

Nice. I absolutely love that. A lot of times, especially in business, when you're sometimes wearing multiple hats or at least in charge of multiple hats, you often have to lean on different experiences and expertise to be able to be successful.

Meredith Eaton 06:54

Exactly. And I had a moment when I was thinking about starting my first publishing company where I thought, should I even be doing this? Because my other company that imploded, I made a lot of mistakes and went and then I realized I learned so much stuff, right? This is my do over, this is my chance. Then I stopped being afraid of the failures, I stopped hiding from the failures, I stopped pretending they didn't happen, which is, I think, a lot of people's first instinct, which is, no, no, no, it was fine.

I chose to shut down the company, it wasn't that everything just completely exploded and left me no choice. That's really where I came to a place of strength. Is once I was like, yeah, man mistakes happen and it's okay, and then we just move forward from that and get better.

Gresham Harkless 07:38

Yeah, I absolutely love that. So I know you touched on it a little bit. Could you take us through how you serve your clients and what exactly that process looks like?

Meredith Eaton 07:47

Absolutely. So we do a lot of custom work. I really believe everybody's journey is a little bit different. So I try not to have too much structure, but constant balance. So we have our one core program is called executive publishing program. That will take you through from the idea for your book all the way to having it on sale in six months. It's aggressive, you have to really be committed, you have to be focused, but if you are, then I am, and I'm going to bring you all the way through. It includes writing, consulting, coaching, editing, and then all the production stuff that goes into making the book physically. So that's our kind of signature program.

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I also run a mastermind a couple of times. Here, that is a publishing and publicity mastermind because that's the other piece, right? We can write the book, we have to get the book in the world. We have to make it do the things we want it to do to grow our business, and that's where a lot of people struggle. So the trick is really you have to know what you're going to do for the marketing and you have to have a plan before you can start writing. That's what's going to position you the best way possible. So I teamed up with a PR expert and we put together this mastermind. It's 12 weeks and it really gets you ready to start writing. But it makes sure you're going to write the right book to achieve your goals for your business.

So on October 1st, I'm watching a program, which is a writing boot camp because I found that a lot of my clients have the best of intentions but they can't finish the book. They just can't stay on it. They get distracted. They need a lot of hand holding and a lot of accountability, but not necessarily a lot of coaching. So it's more about the accountability. I'm putting together this group program that will be more about just getting it done, like a fitness boot camp, where you're going to be yelled at a little bit, and you're going to have incentives, and we're going to have goals. It's on you to do it, to actually put in the work, but I'm going to give you every tool I can to help you get through it and do the work, so.

Then outside of that, everything I consider to be a custom package, we can do everything from just helping with the writing. I helped some of my clients put together proposals to give to publishers if they don't want to do some publishing, and then just the regular services got the book, but you need a format and laid out, put on Amazon, all that kind of stuff. So we can do all of that as well.

Gresham Harkless 10:01

I absolutely love that. I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. This could be for yourself or your business or a combination of both. But what do you feel sets you apart and makes you unique?

Meredith Eaton 10:12

I think in terms of the publishing aspect and what sets me apart from other publishers and self-publishers is that I do view it as a partnership. I become really invested in your success. So I do whatever it takes to get you to that final place. So, with the executive publishing program that I talked about six months, there's a kind of a prescribed process that we move through that works for most of my clients, but not everyone, my clients.

So, I'll add in extra things. We'll do co-writing if that's what it takes. If you're just having a hard time, sticking to your writing blocks, I'll create worksheets if I feel like you need like extra structure to figure out certain pieces. Whatever that is. I want it to get done. I want you to have a good book at the end. I think also just my Willingness to constantly learn and adapt and grow and change services and be willing to respond not just to my clients, not just in publishing for business in general to look for what is new and to be very conscious.

I don't fall into this trap, but I'm very, very conscious to not ever say, no, no, I've done that. I've tried that. I know that I don't use that. That doesn't work for me. So many people say stuff like that about anything. And it's just sort of like, the second I feel myself say that or hear myself say that I'm like, nope, time out, back up. Let's try that. Let's actually go there. We have such a reaction. Let's do it. Let's try it.

Gresham Harkless 11:33

Absolutely love that. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. This could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Meredith Eaton 11:45

So I'm obsessed with systems and technologies and stuff like that. So I'm constantly looking. So that is a little one. It's not my main one, but is to never ever accept that your systems in place are the final systems, right? So I try every six months sometimes a year to just revisit all my things. How am I? What's my database? What's my payment processing? What's my whatever? And make sure they're all as efficient, as cost effective, as useful as they need to be and make those decisions.

But at a much more micro level, my newest discovery and my newest obsession is rocket books. So some people are already on this. I'm new to it. I love it. I'm a notebook person. I constantly write dumb quick notes to myself on that I need that note for 20 minutes from now, but I don't need a week from now. But of all these notebooks that have important things mixed in with not important things and it's a mess and it's a clutter thing.

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So the Rocketbook, for people who don't know, you write out of the regular, a special pen, but a normal pen and then you can scan the pages directly, you can send them over email.

Gresham Harkless 12:48

So, I want to ask you for a CEO nugget. That could be a word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you hopped into a time machine, you would tell your younger business self.

Meredith Eaton 12:59

I'm going to do the time machine younger business off because this is one of my other passions. It's just connecting with other CEOs and people early on their journeys. But I already mentioned this, but it is that mistakes are not just okay. They are powerful, but that's what we learn.

And so the thing I learned almost too late, not really, but that took me probably 15 years of working at two companies to figure out was go as fast as you can towards that first mistake, except it's happening. Just get there and then fix it and move on.

Gresham Harkless 13:30

Now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on the show.

So Meredith, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Meredith Eaton 13:39

To me, being a CEO is two things. It means freedom and obligation at the same time.

Gresham Harkless 13:47

Yeah, no, it makes perfect sense. That definitely resonated with me so Meredith I truly appreciate that perspective and that definition. Appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best they can get ahold of you and find out about all the awesome things that you're working on.

Meredith Eaton 14:04

Okay. So the last little thing I'll say because I spent so much of my advice time on CEO is for people who want to write a business book, it is very doable and is a powerful tool for sure. The key, I think, to getting started is to remember that with nonfiction books, it's a snapshot in time. It's not your life's work. You're not writing a great American novel. You're not writing this massive tome that's going to revolutionize the world. You wanna just at this moment right now, what are your philosophies? What are your viewpoints? What's your experience telling you that you can share? Get it down, get it out, leverage it.

It will explode your business, take it to the next level, and then write another book and it's not accurate anymore. That's fine. We write another book, we update, we grow. I think for a lot of people it's hard to decide. This is the book. Like, I have to have the absolute best, theory and information. You don't have to have the best you have right now. But the important thing again, is just get it done, get it out. So we focus about that. I'm not a lot in the groups that I work on.  I run a Facebook group called Booking it to Success and we just talk about all kinds of things related to writing, publishing, motivation, mindset, marketing, getting your book out, all that kind of stuff.

So people that aren't sure kind of thinking about it, highly recommend, look that group up, join in. It's a very quiet group in a sense that there's not that constant selling to each other and the members. It really is just a group of people who want to learn about writing and publishing their own nonfiction books. Then eatonpress.com is our website. We're also on Instagram and Facebook. To find us there, and that's really the best way to keep up with what we're doing.

Gresham Harkless 15:50

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much again. We will have the links and information in the show notes for social media, website and the awesome Facebook group as well, too.

We want to write that great American novel, the best book that's ever been written before, but a lot of times we just have to get one page after one page done and we start to progress. Then once we have success, we can do it all over again.

So I appreciate that reminder as well, and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:13

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co.

This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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