This month marks the 5th Anniversary for The Happy Self-Publisher. I’m not only extremely excited, I’m also profoundly grateful for those who have been part of my journey in big and little ways. You may see my face or name on everything, but as Katy Perry said, “I’m every woman. It takes a village to make me who I am.” This post is both a tribute to those who have helped me, but also a call to build a team of your own.

First, I want you to know about the most important member of my team, my husband, Michael. He has been the lighthouse in the sometimes foggy path of building my business. He is always there for me — cooking when I need warm soup at the end of a long day, celebrating my victories, and offering an encouraging hug when things don’t go exactly as planned. He believed in me even when there wasn’t evidence in the bank account and has been eternally patient when I have to send that one last email or make that one last edit. He makes all my days brighter.

Kim Flodin is the anchor of my social media presence and an attentive listener when I have a crazy idea about what to do next. Her steady, playful voice shines in her posts, whether they be inspirational or seriously silly. Her skills and dedication allow me to focus all my energy on serving my clients and creating a vision for the future. To call her invaluable would just be understating what she means to me. She is truly awesome.

Caren McCabe was the best accountability partner a girl could ever wish for. She (lovingly) held my feet to the fire when I said I would do something and helped me work through strategic and mental blocks so I could overcome them. She was a game-changer in my growth.

Then there are mentors like Donna Duffy who have shown me what hard work and a kind heart look like. There are countless others in the writing community, most notably Joanne Reinbold, who I’ve admired and emulated for their dedication to the craft and the people they serve.

There are the organizations to which I’ve belonged that have supported me and provided me an opportunity to share my knowledge and passion. I’ve been with the Delaware Small Business Chamber from the beginning. Bob and Pamela are always cheering for me and putting opportunities in front of me to help my business grow. Roxanne at the Middletown Chamber and the folks at the Southern Chester County Chamber have also been a crucial part of my business support system.

My strategic partners help my clients and me. Editors Susan Robinson, Robin Hill-Page Glanden, Rachel Brown, Julie Willson, and Grace Judson, all put a polish on the words before my authors send their work out into the world. We work as a team to serve the clients and make sure all the commas are in their proper place. They make my clients look good, and I’m eternally grateful for their hard work. Ashley Wagner has also contributed in numerous ways both in back-of-the-house writing and as a smiling face at conferences.

Other team members may be more peripheral, but nonetheless important to feeling supported and buoyed through the ups and downs of running a business. Krista and others at Panera who have kept the coffee hot, the fireplace warm and provided a welcoming office atmosphere for me to nurture my creative energy. Thanks to others like Pat DePalma for keeping me organized, Connie Mitchell and CR Burris for keeping my finances in order, Tom Hornung for protecting my business, the physical therapist, chiropractor, people at the gym, and the occasional therapist who have kept my body and mind in working order to be my best. I know each of you is there for me, and I am grateful.

And, of course, there are my clients. While there are (thankfully) too many to name, know that each of you has played a role in getting me where I am. You’ve taught me lessons about struggle and perseverance, patience and determination. The excitement you’ve expressed in an email or face-to-face when you held your book in your hands for the first time is the rocket fuel that gets me out of bed each morning.

Then there are the cheerleaders — people who read my blogs, emails, share their thoughts and comments on social media, and eagerly come to learn at my workshops. You’ve shared my name with others and kept up the enthusiasm even if it isn’t your time to be an author or not in the future for you at all.

I couldn’t have done this without every member of my team. With this group behind me and beside me, I know I’m poised to serve even more clients in the next five years. That means more stories shared, and more lives changed as a result.

As I reflected on all of this recently, gratitude didn’t seem like enough. So, I’m paying it forward. For every online course sold, I’m donating $50 to support writers and writing programs in schools to inspire the next generation of storytellers. I want to share the gift that has given so much to me.

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to serve the writing community and be a member of it. Writers, you have my sincere thanks for being part of my team. I hope I can become part of your team, too.  

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