Finding your Mompowerment
Suzanne Brown empowers companies to become more balance-friendly and professional working moms to create the work-life balance they crave.
Suzanne is a TED speaker and has been featured in major publications such as TIME, Forbes, Working Mother, Reader’s Digest, Shape, and Prevention. She’s a mom, wife, consultant, speaker, strategist, avid international traveler, and award-winning author.
Today, she talks about the evolution and the creative process of writing her books, The Mompowerment Guide to Work-life Balance and Mompowerment: Insights from Professional Part-Time Working Moms Who Balance Career and Family.
What We Discuss with Suzanne Brown:
- Shifting into a creative mindset when writing a book
- Her creative process behind writing the first book
- The evolution of the concept of flexibility from her first book to her TEDx Talk and the second book
- The importance of putting yourself into the mindset of the reader
[01:43] A Mindset Shift
Suzanne and Azul met through Dana Malstaff of Boss-Mom, looking for some strategic advice having interviewed more than 110 professional working moms. Azul asked her to do a mind map of her content, to not think strategically or analytically – but to just write. It was time to turn on the creative part of her brain.
It became a mindset shift for Suzanne. Creativity wasn’t a natural place for her. But you can’t write a book without being creative. Even though it’s not a nonfiction book, it’s not an academic journal. You still have to write it in the voice of someone who’s going to read it.
People want a book that captures their attention and guides them into the conversation.
[08:37] Her Writing Journey
The marketing industry is a very cutthroat, competitive, challenging industry. It is not known for its work-life balance. And that’s just what you sign up for. Suzanne worked in the marketing industry for 12 years. Then she became a mom, with her first son born 10 weeks premature. This completely shifted her life – not just because she became a mom, but because she had no idea what was going to happen. As a director in their company, she decided to cut back her hours to 20 hours a week.
Suzanne got a lot of questions from other working moms about how she was able to handle everything just working 20 hours a week.
A year later, she transitioned to being a 100% entrepreneur from the side gig that she already had for eight years. The questions never stopped. Other moms asked her how she was able to do everything in terms of making money and scheduling stuff.
[10:45] The Creative Process Behind Writing Her First Book
Not seeing any resources, Suzanne decided to make one for moms. She interviewed other women so she could also include their thoughts. It became this aha moment for her to write a book. Not a book about marketing which was her area of expertise, but a book about work-life balance which was a new topic for her to uncover.
Suzanne wanted her book to be conversational. She also wanted to have a variety of physical locations and a variety of industries, and roles within those industries.
She had to intentionally ask certain kinds of questions at people who were in the financial services industry because she wasn’t getting enough of that voice. Sometimes, too, she’d ask them what would be the right questions to ask.
[19:32] Setting the Stage: The TEDx Talk
As she was trying to do more speaking, she also finished all of the interviews in 2016 which started back in 2013. When she got invited to talk on TEDx, she still hasn’t written a single word for the book. The organizer told her the talk wasn’t anything like a sales pitch. They just wanted her to share what she learned and why it matters.
The TEDx Talk is really about why would we want to create more professional part-time opportunities for working mothers? Why is this the right moment for it?
[22:31] The Evolution of the Concept of Flexibility: How the 2nd Book Came About
After writing her first book, a lot of women came to her saying the first book was about working part-time so they won’t be able to read it. So she decided to write the second book, an empowerment guide to work-life balance. Regardless of how you work, Suzanne shares practical tips to create more of the balance you’re looking for.
It was all an evolution – creating the idea of the TEDx Talk was setting the stage, then creating the first book to be a resource to answer the challenges brought up and all the other things she needed to think about.
Some authors will find that they have to do a little bit of pivoting as they are writing their book or as they are creating their platform.
The first book started the concept of part-time. And then the final book ended out with the general concept of flexibility. Part-time is a form of flexibility. But there are other things that are out there. And so her areas of focus and expertise had to pivot.
[27:00] The Power of Getting Honest Feedback
You have to put yourself into the mindset of the reader. There might be things that you care about that your readers don’t. So after she wrote her book, she had some beta readers review her work. Hearing there were parts of her book that her readers didn’t care about was painful, but it didn’t add value from their perspective. So she had to take it out.
It’s so important for you to think about what your audience wants from your creativity, not just what you want to put out there.
You never want to hear that. But you need somebody who can have some kind of critical eye. There are editors who specifically look at that side of your content. But you don’t actually get that feedback until the very end.
[34:21] Final Pieces of Advice
As you’re writing a book, start with the idea of what do people come to you for? Start to chew on that concept. Doing a mind map can be really helpful because it can help you understand what are the things that you want to be able to write about as your first step.
If you are already writing the book, but it’s not out into the world yet, you have to start developing your author platform as soon as humanly possible.
Writing the book is not actually the hard part. The hardest part is marketing your book.
Anyone can write a book now because you have platforms like Amazon, but you want people to care about your book. You want people to be paying attention. You want them to want to buy your book.
You have to start developing that platform – not once you’ve written the book, but as you write the book. And that becomes part of your marketing platform.
Finally, for the endorsements or testimonials that you wish to put at the back of your book, have them written by the people who are readers of your book. So if you’re writing a book for working moms, you also want a working mom to be on the back of the book.
Suzanne Brown’s books:
The Mompowerment Guide to Work-life Balance book on Amazon (newest book on work-life balance for working moms)
Mompowerment book on Amazon (successful transition to a part-time role for working moms)
Check out Episode 003 with Dana Malstaff of Boss-Mom