Meredith Eaton is the CEO of Eaton Press, a self-publishing services company for non-fiction writers. Meredith has been in the publishing industry for nearly 10 years and 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 non-profit organizations and brings that experience to help her clients produce books that will grow their businesses.
- CEO Hack: (1) Revisiting my processes and systems every six months (2) Rocketbook
- CEO Nugget: Accept your mistakes and go past them as fast as possible
- CEO Defined: Freedom and obligation at the same time
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 0:29
Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh. For me, I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. As Meredith Eaton of Eaton press. Meredith, it's awesome to have you on the show.
Meredith Eaton 0:39
It's great to be here. Thanks so much for having me.
Gresham Harkless 0:42
No problem. Super excited to have you on and before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Meredith so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Meredith is the CEO of Eaton Press, a self-publishing services company for non-fiction writers. Meredith has been in the publishing industry for nearly 10 years and 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 non-profit organizations and brings that experience to help her clients produce books that will grow their businesses. Meredith, are you ready to speak to the imceo community?
Meredith Eaton 1:20
I sure am. Awesome.
Gresham Harkless 1:22
Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I want to rewind the clock a little bit here a little bit more about what I call your CEO story, we'll let you get started with your business.
Meredith Eaton 1:30
All right, cool. So my CEO story is sort of two pieces. One is how I'm a CEO in general. And that is that I do not do great with authority. I need I don't like people telling you what to do. But also I like I still like structure, and I still like organization. Um, so I just created myself is really what I learned about myself. So that's why being a CEO of a company versus just like, you know, if I really couldn't handle authority or structure and a lot of other things, I could do freelancing, you know, travel, blogger, whatever, which one really fit. So that's kind of put me on the path to being a CEO. And 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. And way that I find fascinating, and hopefully, other people do too. But um, so I started out as working in nonprofit right out of college and went, got a job, nonprofit doing sort of administrative executive assistant type work. And it was great, except for the parts at work, which is, you know, having bosses and having everything be a team and in the nonprofit stock is its own whole thing, of, of ethos, and culture and everything. So I went back to school, got my master's in organizational management, which I loved. I loved learning about the structure of companies and how people work together. And that's really where I started to realize I was I really needed to be in charge, and not working for other people. So I started my first company, I was about 27, I think. 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, what, how often do and I found myself sort of really burnt really just tired of being in charge of being control. So took a office desk job, I just wanted to sit and for the first time, my life, I wanted someone else to tell me what to do all that I just, I didn't want to think anymore. Because that's the part of being a CEO, you're responsible for people. So it was, um, it was it had gotten to be too much for me, so did that job for a couple of years, and then sort of stumbled into this role of self publishing. Um, my dad was easing into retirement, he'd been running his own company for about 35 years. As a sales trainer. He wanted to kind of do a book that would transit and help that transition into retirement. So I was helping with that. Then my uncle so I'm writing a book, can you help me do mine? I was like, Okay, wow, this is me. This is a thing and I'm learning and I like that, you know, it's creative. And I'm behind the scenes and all of this. During all of this. I've been also working as a networking 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 an audience map but um, so I love that about the performing of the creative. So I thought, oh, publishing, this will be great. I'm such as I started 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 I don't like working in fiction. So As much art and so much emotion and so little structure, so then I figured out, okay, I'll do nonfiction and I work with business owners, then 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, um, so that, and that's what keeps me grounded all the time. It's remembering, like, I built this, like everything I did brought me here. And that helps me guide the company as well. So
Gresham Harkless 5:28
Nice, absolutely love that. I'm glad you said that. Because everything you did brought you here, because that's what I was actually thinking is sometimes we look at, even sometimes the launch date of a business, and we kind of negate or forget about the aspect of all the experience that it takes to get there. And a lot of times, especially in business, when you're kind of sometimes wearing multiple hats, or at least in charge of multiple hats, you often have to kind of lean on different experience, experiences and expertise is to be able to be successful.
Meredith Eaton 5:56
Exactly. And I and I had a moment when I started was thinking about starting my first publishing company, where I thought, you know, should I even be doing this because my other company failed, that imploded, I made a lot of mistakes. And, you know, I went and then I kind of realized, by learn so much stuff, right? This is my do over this is my chance. And then I stopped being afraid of the failures and some hiding from the failures, I stopped pretending they didn't happen, which is, I think a lot of people's first instinct was not Oh, it's fine. I chose, I chose to shut down the company, it wasn't that everything just like completely exploded and left me no choice. Um, you know, and then I and that's really where I can't replace a string is once I was like, Yeah, man, mistakes happen. And it's okay. And we just move forward from that and get better. Oh,
Gresham Harkless 6:43
yeah, absolutely. And especially in business, there's, you know, it's really, I think, hard to be in business for probably, sometimes it feels like 30 minutes, then that have like a mistake or something. But as you said, he, as you pointed to, the key is not in not having those mistakes, or failures, or whatever might happen. It's in learning from those and being able to build from those mistakes, so that the next venture or the next thing, or the next project, or client, or whatever that might be whatever their next might be, is going to be so much better. So I absolutely love that. So I know you touched on it a little bit, can you take us through how you serve your clients and what exactly that process looks like?
Meredith Eaton 7:19
Absolutely. So we do a lot of custom work. And I really believe everybody's journey is a little bit different. So I try not to have too many too much structure, that constant balance, but so we have our one core program is called executive publishing program. And 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 than I am, and I'm gonna bring you all the way through it includes writing, consulting, coaching, editing, and then all the production stuff that goes into making the book a book, like physically. So that's our kind of signature program, I also run a mastermind a couple of times a year 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 have to know what you're going to do for the marketing. And you have to have a plan before you even start writing. That's what's going to position you the best way possible. So I've 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 that you're going to write the right book to achieve your goals for your business. So and then on October 1, I'm launching a new program, which is a writing boot camp, because I found that a lot of my clients have the best of intentions. And 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 accountability, somebody goes group program, that will be more about just getting it done in like a boot camp like a fitness boot camp where you're going to be yelled out a little bit, to have incentives, and we're going to have goals and it's on you to do it, you know, to actually put more, but I'm going to give you every tool I can to help you, you know, get through it and do the work. So and then outside of that everything I consider to be a custom package. So we can do everything from just helping with the writing. I help 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 to format and laid out, put on Amazon, all that kind of stuff. So we can do all of that as well.
Gresham Harkless 9:38
I absolutely love that. And so I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for yourself or your business or combination of both. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and machinic?
Meredith Eaton 9:49
Well, I think in terms of the publishing aspect of 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, that final place. So we have 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 every one of our clients. So I'll do that I'll add in extra things will do co writing, if that's what it takes, if you're just having a hard time, you know, sticking to writing blocks, I'll create worksheets, if I feel like, you know, you need like extra structure to figure out certain pieces, whatever that that is just, I want it to get done, I want you to have a good book at the end. And 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, and not just in publishing for business in general, to look for what is new and to be very conscious, and I don't fall into this trap. But I'm very, very conscious to not ever say no, now I've done that. I've tried that. I know that. I don't use that, that doesn't work for me. And 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, I'm out, back up. Let's try that, you know, let's let's actually go there. It's such a reaction. Let's do it. Let's try it.
Gresham Harkless 11:19
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. So this could be like an app or book or a habit that you have. But what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Meredith Eaton 11:30
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 my main one. But like is to never accept that system. Templates are the final systems, right? So I try every six months, sometimes a year to just revisit all my things, how am I you know, what's my database, what's my payment processing, what's my, whatever, and make sure they're all as efficient and as cost effective, as useful as they need to be and make those decisions. But on a much more micro level, my newest discovery, and my newest obsession is rocket books. So some people are already on this, but I'm kind of new to it. I love it. I love it. I'm a normal person, I constantly write dumb quick notes to myself on on all that I need. I need that know, for like 20 minutes from now, but I don't need it a week from now. But of all these notebooks that have important things mixed in with non boring things. And it's a mess. And it's a clutter thing. So, so the rocket book, you know, for people don't know you, you write out the regular, you know, a special patent but like a normal thing. And then you can scan the pages directly into you can see an email so I'll
Gresham Harkless 12:40
so that what it asked me for what I call a CEO nugget. So that could be a word of wisdom or piece of advice, it might be something you would tell a client or if you have to do a time machine, you would tell your younger business self.,
Meredith Eaton 12:52
I'm going to do the Time Machine younger business self because this is one of my other passions is just sort of connecting with other CEOs and people early on their journeys. But I've kind of already mentioned this, but it is that mistakes are not just okay, they are powerful. But they're that's where we learn. And so the thing I learned almost too late, not really. But like that took me probably 15 years, working to companies to figure out was go as fast as you can put that first mistake, except it's happening, and just get there, then fix it and move on.
Gresham Harkless 13:24
Now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote unquote, CEOs on the show. So Meredith, what does being a CEO mean to
Meredith Eaton 13:32
For me being a CEO is it means two things, it means freedom and obligation. At the same time.
Gresham Harkless 13:41
Yeah, no, it makes perfect sense. That definitely resonated with me. So Meredith, truly appreciate that perspective. In 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 we're working on.
Meredith Eaton 13:59
Okay. So the last little thing I'll say, because I spent so much 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. And the key I think to getting started is to remember that with nonfiction books, it really it's a snapshot in time. It's not your life's work, you're not writing great American novel, you're not writing this massive tome that's going to like you know, revolutionize the world. You want to 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, the stuff and it's not accurate anymore, that's fine. We write another book, we update we grow. And I think for a lot of people, it's hard to decide like, this is the book like how do I get you know, I have to have the absolute best, you know, theory and information. You don't you don't have to have the best you have right now. And then but the important thing again, it's just get it done. Get it out. So we focus about that on that a lot in the groups that I work on. And so I have I run a Facebook group called looking at to success. And it is 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 aren't sure there's kind of thinking about it highly recommend looking at group up, join in, it's not, it's a very quiet group in the sense that there's not that constant selling to each other. In the members. It really is just a group of people who want to learn about writing and publishing their own nonfiction books. So and then eaten press calm, is our website. We're also on Instagram, and Facebook, both eaten press to find us there. And that's really the best way to keep up with what we're doing. So
Gresham Harkless 15:53
awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much. Again, we will have the links and information in the show notes for social media website and awesome Facebook group as well too. And I truly appreciate that reminder as well, too. I think so many times, we let the perfect get in a way the possible 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 for one page done and we start to progress and 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. Thank you.
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