Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Megan, Book Coach

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Megan’s story. She’s a book coach and literary agent whose passion for the written word runs deep. With a baby on the way, Megan is not only juggling her expanding career but an expanding family as well.  Let’s check out her hustle!

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Hello!  My name is Megan Close Zavala and I am a literary agent and book coach. While I do still represent clients from time to time, I am currently focused on my coaching practice.  Just like a health coach helps their clients find ways to make their bodies the best that they can be, I do the same with authors and their writing.  I also provide editorial services, so I am often busy proofreading and copy editing various documents.  When I’m not reading for work, I’m reading for fun, and I love what I do!

7:30AM – Wake up and have breakfast.  Secretly wish I hadn’t given up caffeine when I got pregnant.  I usually try to give myself a few minutes before I start looking at emails, so I go on Facebook for a while.  I also like to read something more substantial than Facebook in the mornings, and it is usually a writing- or publishing- related magazine.  Today I’m reading Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly.  In addition to helping me wake up and get into the right mindset, magazines always give me inspiration for services to offer, blogs to write, and ways to help my clients succeed!

9:00AM – Now it’s time to really get to work.  I look over my to-do list for the day, in case there is something urgent that needs to be attended to first thing.  Luckily, today there isn’t anything super pressing, so I begin to sift through emails.  I respond to a few client emails and a few requests to appear on folks’ podcasts or blogs.  I look over my calendar to make sure I know what I’m supposed to be doing for the rest of the day!  Then I spend some time updating my social media, especially Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

9:30AM – Call two potential clients to give them quotes on services that they have requested.  Potential clients are able to schedule calls with me through my website.  I post my starting rates there, but very few projects are exactly the same.  Once I finish my calls, I invoice the clients for the agreed upon amount.

10:00AM – Draft two guest blogs.  One is on how publishing a book can help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow their business, and another is on keeping yourself on track when it comes to finishing your novel.  I really like doing these – I think they’re helpful for people who read them, and it’s fun to get to be the writer once in awhile!

11:00AM – Phone call with monthly consulting client.  We discuss his latest pages and some steps he can take to improve them.  He needs to work on his dialogue – he is having difficulty giving each of his characters a distinct voice, and we brainstormed some ways that he can get through that.

12:00PM – Work on improving website.  My new website just launched, so I am constantly trying to improve the copy and fix little issues I find along the way.  There is always something to do!

12:30PM – Begin proofreading for client.  Proofreading is basically just looking for punctuation, grammar, or spelling errors, and is less involved that some of the more in depth editing services I offer.  

1:00PM – Take a quick lunch break and watch a couple episodes of Forensic Files on Netflix.  Contemplate taking a nap (I’m seven months pregnant), but decide I better keep going with my day!

2:00PM – Complete proofreading for client.  I will send her the final, clean version tomorrow once I take one last glance at everything.

2:45PM – Prepare for a podcast interview by re-reading the questions they sent over and doing some research on the podcast and my interviewer.  Put on a nice scarf and some perfume – I find that when I feel professional, I’m more likely to come off that way!

3:00PM – Podcast begins.  I’m grateful I gussied up a bit because the first section was done via webcam.  Give myself a pat on the back for changing out of pajamas!  I get to talk about my circuitous path to becoming a book coach, give some advice to writers, and make a great new contact.

3:35PM – Podcast is over.  I give myself a little break and then start going through emails that have built up throughout the day.  I receive an invitation to appear at a writers’ conference but have to turn it down because it is only a few days after my baby is due.

4:00PM – Read through material sent over for a 1-on-1 coaching session tomorrow and take notes.  Clients who do coaching sessions send me their book project (in whatever form it is currently in!) in advance, I review it, and then we discuss what is great and not so great when we talk on the phone.  These are really gratifying to do, and a lot of time these folks turn into monthly coaching clients as well!

5:30PM – Take a marketing webinar.  No matter how much I think I already know, there is always more to learn.  I always take advantage of free webinars or interesting newsletters that I get introduced to.  This webinar talks a lot about Facebook ads, which is definitely taking some time for me to master!

6:15PM – Wrap up my work day.  Respond to last emails, clean off my desk, and do some necessary filing.  I find it’s much easier to start the day with a smile on your face when your desk is not a total disaster zone.

6:30PM – Curl up with The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, my pick for book club.  I am hosting on Sunday, so I want to make sure I finish reading in time!  Start brainstorming food ideas for our meeting.

7:30PM – Dinnertime (breakfast burritos!) and hang out with my husband.  Talk about baby stuff.  Learning how to balance my time has been a big hurdle to get over, and time management is always a struggle.  But I have gotten a lot better at it, and I think the time I spend on each area of my life is more meaningful than it used to me.  We watch a little TV and I check in on the Facebook groups I am part of.

10:30PM – I put together my to-do list for the following day.  This helps me feel organized when I go to bed, which has helped to prevent many sleepless nights of lying awake thinking, “Did I do that?” and “When is that due?”  Tomorrow I will be doing more coaching calls and work on the website, and I am going to pitch some article ideas to a few different periodicals.  I’m also hoping to get more of my webinar slides completed for an upcoming presentation!

10:45PM – Read more of The Nightingale – it’s really good!  It’s so nice to be able to actually give myself some time to read “for pleasure.”  Husband reads his book, too: my idea of marital bliss.

11:30PM – Finally fall asleep.  I look forward to starting another busy but enjoyable day helping authors!

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Megan! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work in the literary world? Would you like to?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

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