Like many people, Tressa Smallwood, a former schoolteacher, started out on the straight and narrow career path. Now she is making a living off of royalties as a self-published author and other entrepreneurial ventures.
“I received my undergrad at University of Maryland Eastern Shore and my master’s from Bowie State University,” said Smallwood. Then, I started my career as a schoolteacher making 40K. Although I loved working with children, I wanted to build wealth for my daughters. I knew I couldn’t do that by working for someone else.”
After writing her first novel, A Life to Remember, Smallwood founded LifeChangingBooks.net, a book publishing company that has published 141 book titles.
Today, not only has Smallwood found success in the publishing world, she’s been able to transition her publishing knowledge to the film world. Most recently, she executive produced the film Secrets, starring Denise Boutte (Why Did I Get Married?) and Denyce Lawton (House of Payne), which sold out during the 20th American Black Film Festival. She’s in pre-production to film Born In the Game, based on the book Welfare Grind by Kendall Banks. And to top it all off she’s a mom and wife.
Deciding to pursue a non-traditional career path isn’t easy, but it certainly can be done. Black Enterprise caught up with Smallwood to learn what it takes to build a business with multiple streams of income.
You’ve been able to build upon your success as a book author. Can you share the ways you’ve created multiple streams of revenue?
I actually teach a class called “Learn to Create 7 Sources of Income.” Here is mine:
- Book Publishing Royalties
- Book Consultation Services
- Mega Mind Media (Executive Producer of Films & content for
- TressaAzarelVipclub.com ( Individuals join to get 15 days Free consultation)
- The Best Sellers Project (an online boot camp for aspiring entrepreneurs)
Owner of Be Your Own Boss Academy
Real Estate Investing
What have been the key components of building your career and how have those factors helped you to create multiple streams of revenue?
Determination, teamwork, and constant reinvesting into my businesses. Those factors carry over into each entity, which allows me to build bigger and better teams for each.
How did you raise the money to launch your business?
I begged my husband! He gave me the money to publish my first book…the rest is history.
How have you dealt with the uncertainty of not having a paycheck?
I still haven’t. I just do it! Entrepreneurship is a mindset. I know a steady paycheck isn’t going to mysteriously show up so I create it.
What are the best marketing tools you’ve used to spread awareness about your business? Why?
Handheld giveaways have been the best and most creative. I remember creating a handheld fan for a book festival that was 96 degrees. In that sweltering heat, my fans that said, “Book so Hot you Need A Fan” was an instant hit. Of course my website– www.lifechangingbooks.net–was boldly centered.
Can you share any traditional career advice you heard as a young adult, but are glad you didn’t follow?
Yes! So many people in my family said, “Play it safe. “Don’t leave your good teaching job with benefits. Plus, you get summers off.” Glad I didn’t listen. Now, I can take summer off and make lots of money while I play and sleep. It’s the best part about being my own boss.