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Azul Terronez is the Co-Founder of the Authors Writing Academy where he leads people to write and publish their books in 90 days. He specializes in coaching people who are terrified of writing but want to be a published author.
I show people how to overcome their FEAR of self-publishing, while making the writing process fun and easy. I know the ins and outs of getting your book published, purchased and read.
Azul is the bestselling author of The Art of Apprenticeship and has coached seasoned writers like Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income and Dana Malstaff, of Boss-Mom.com.
When he is not writing or coaching other authors, Azul can be found relaxing in a yoga class or obsessing over tiny houses on pinterest.
City where you’re from: From Santa Cruz, California but currently living in Shanghai.
Hobbies: Yoga, reading and exploring the world.
Favorite quote: ”There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”—Maya Angelou
Hey Azul, terrific having you here. What made you make the jump to become an entrepreneur?
I spent 22 years of my life as an educator, teacher, principal, university instructor and wanted to make a go at something new. I have been teaching writing to students for years and just didn’t imagine that I could use those skills to become an author coach to some amazing people. I also wanted to show my own children that you are never too old to learn and that you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it.
Who were your biggest influences? Was there a defining moment in your life?
One of my biggest influences in my life was my grandfather who started from nothing and made only one dollar a day during the depression. He was eventually able to buy some apartment buildings and land and ended up successfully making profits from his investments. He always stressed the importance of education and that’s why I went to college and became a teacher. Another huge influence was Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income because he showed me how to be authentic, honest and real and still be able to make a living on line. I am also a huge Seth Godin fan.
What are you working on? How did you come up with this idea?
Currently I am running the Authors Writing Academy and online community for helping authors write and self-publish their books. I have been coaching writing clients one-on-one and saw the need to guide a larger group of people through the writing process. People want to know how I was able to write and publish my book in 90 days and thus, the Academy was born.
What makes the Authors Writing Academy unique? What has been your favorite moment with it? What’s the vision?
Rather than just offer an online course, the Authors Writing Academy is an online community where authors come for support, inspiration and growing their author business. We help authors, not only publish their books, but become authors who use their books to launch and build new lives and businesses. One of my favorite moments was when one of my youngest authors, just a year out of high school, saw the cover of his book for the first time. It was awesome to see how inspired his hard work made him feel and that I had been a part in making one of his dreams of becoming a published author come true.
If you do Facebook ads, what types of creatives/campaigns do you use (we like specifics)?
I do some targeted Facebook ads to direct traffic to my webinars as well as to specific blog posts when I am doing a launch. I ultimately want people to join the Authors Writing Academy but also grow my list.
Did you experience failure along the way? What did you learn from it?
In 2006 before the market tanked, I opened a fitness gym. I have always wanted to help people in my business ventures and opening a gym seemed like a logical fit at the time. The thing that I learned from the experience was how owning a franchise was not really the same as owning my own business. I had all of the risk of a business, all of the liability, but not enough of the profit. I ended up selling the gym and losing a ton of money. I learned so many lessons from that failure. At times, it was painful and left me wondering if I’d ever bounce back. After years of patience, I ultimately recovered and I knew that I wanted to build an online business and continue the pursuit of my dreams and vision of launching a business to help people. Those past lessons with the gym taught me to venture away from the brick and mortar franchise model as those tend to be much less nimble when the market shifts.
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.
As much as hustle pays off now, relationships and adding value to the world pays off later. Don’t mistake hustle for hard work. Work smart and realize that how you treat people matters the most. Every customer or fan should feel important.
Teach us something about publishing. Can you recommend any favorite websites to learn that topic?
In the self-publishing industry one of the big advantages to writing bestselling books is to understand the market. You need to meet the needs and demand of the market. Even if you are a great writer, you still have to write what readers want to read. If no one wants to read about what you choose to write about, your book will go unnoticed. Understanding SEO for Amazon, particularly Kindle is important to boosting book sales. One of the best sites for understanding the complexities of book SEO is Kindlepreneur.com. It’s one of my top picks that I recommend to my clients.
Where can people self-publish their books?
Authors have been having success using crowdfunding platforms for books before they even write them such as on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. A new platform that is targeted specifically toward authors is Publishizer.com. They help authors not only pre-sale books, but get potential publishers to offer to publish their books.
What daily habits do you have that allow you to perform at your peak?
I like to rise early, usually between 4:30 and 5:00 AM, do 20 minutes of yoga and some reflection. It helps me set my intentions for the day and clear my mind before going forward.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
Focus on providing value to your clients, potential clients and fellow entrepreneurs. Don’t just be someone that looks for the opportunity for yourself. Be a giver and make sure when you become successful to help out other budding entrepreneurs.
Walk us step-by-step through the process that you had to go through to get from the early stages to where you are today.
First, I had to put myself out there and start connecting with entrepreneurs. I went to one of my first mastermind events with Pat Flynn and Chris Ducker, both of whom have become friends and are great mentors to so many of us. Don’t just live online, connect with real people.
I also had to understand the value of my work and overcome any fears or doubts about charging fees that might seem expensive. I had to believe that what I charge for coaching is worth it. When anyone would ask what I charge, I had to be ready to tell them my fees with confidence. I had to say it, expect people to pay it. I was shocked by how quickly my business started to grow, even when I knew I had to increase my fees because my original price plan was under value. I didn’t start out online. Initially, I was coaching authors in person. Now, I offer a mix, some online and some in person. Once I better understood what people needed, I built the online academy and community. I validated my work through my clients and took their feedback to create the Authors Writing Academy.
What are some of your favorite books?
- 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup, the amazing true story of a freeman who became enslaved.
- Play It Away, by Charlie Hoehn about how he cured his anxiety through Play.
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, a must read memoir.
- The 4 Hour Workweek, probably goes without saying is Tim Ferriss’ best book in my opinion.
Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple years?
I see myself growing more products for my brand CoachAzul.com, helping some more authors make the Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestsellers lists, writing more books and connecting with companies to help them tell their stories to grow their companies.