Kytka at IdeaMensch
“Write a book. No matter what business you are in, writing a book will give you credibility and recognition.”
Kytka Hilmar-Jezek, is a Best Selling Author of Book Power: A Platform for Writing, Branding, Positioning & Publishing, Reiki for Children, The Waldorf Community Exchange, Waldorf Talk Series, Born To Learn and The Growing Entrepreneur. She founded Waldorf Homeschoolers in 1996 and has been an active voice in alternative education since. Her latest company, Be More Network helps business people share their messages and gain leverage by authoring and publishing their books. Kytka is an international speaker and an inspirational powerhouse. Her approachable personality tends to have people perceive her more as a Luminary than just a Leader, because she tends to light the path for others by being a living example of the subject matter she speaks and writes about. Learn more atBeMoreThanYouAre.com.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on bringing Book Power to as many people as I can. We recently sent a large load to Books Behind Bars and enjoy working with youth groups and senior organizations as well to bring their voices and stories to print.
Where did the idea for Book Power and Be More Network come from?
I self published my first book 15 years ago. It was a horrible experience which cost a lot of money, took almost a year and my royalty on an $18.95 book was approx. 50 cents. It caused so much frustration and I was not pleased with the end result. Any changes would cost hundreds of dollars and delay publication by 6-8 months. When Amazon acquired CreateSpace.com, I cancelled my self publishing contract and published with CreateSpace. It was easy, fast and incredibly user friendly. Within a couple of weeks my book Reiki for Children jumped to #3 in its category and it has maintained he top 10 since. It put control into my hands and I understood the power of self publishing correctly. As a result of the books positioning, I was able to leverage that to gain access to interviews, media and speaking opportunities. I wanted to help other business owners share their messages in a way that would be both profitable and simple for them to do. Book Power tells them exactly how to do it in a fast and gamified manner and Be More Network helps those who want us to do it for them.
How do you make money?
Our company has a wide variety of services we offer the soon to be author. From books sales, to a home study program all the way to done-for-you and ghost writing services, we work with authors whose message is packaged in a book for credibility and leverage. On the back end we also offer author website design, social media integration and speaking at various events. This July we will be having a large week long event in Orlando which will bring together some amazing other people in the industry, it is very exciting!
What does your typical day look like?
There is never a “typical” day. The beauty of being an entrepreneur is that you have the flexibility to create and design how your time is spent. I am often traveling meeting aspiring authors and speaking to groups about the importance of writing their book. When I am in the office, we are interviewing authors, creating videos, working on social media and researching trends to stay up to date on what is happening in the world of publishing and communication.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I take action and implement quickly. Many people have an idea and automatically talk themselves out of it because they begin to go through the mental “to do list” of what needs to be done to bring the idea to fruition. Instead of allowing the list to scare me away, I break it down into actionable steps and then take them one at a time.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Self publishing and the Kindle revolution. What most people still do not realize is that a physical book carries much more weight than a Kindle book and they understand the importance of writing a Kindle book – but they do not realize that it is just as easy to make the book an actual physical product. My team and I educate clients on the pros of each format and then assist them in bringing their messages to market.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, I never had a “job” except one short summer when I was 15 and worked at McDonald’s. I did not like the structure of coming in at the bottom and having to do time to move up. It was not based on skill, ability or understanding of the job at hand, but rather on time and hours worked. Some people worked there for years and still had little understanding, yet they moved up the ladder even though there were fresh new hires that had a lot more knowledge or experience in each specific function. This seemed very unproductive and illogical to me, but thousands of franchises are built the same way. I learned that the most valuable asset I would ever own is my time and I realized early on that I wanted to control how my time would be invested.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would better appreciate and understand the value of a team. When I began, I was a “do it all myself” person. Entrepreneurs are visionaries and getting caught up in the technical details kills creativity and causes burnout. I would outsource more and understand where my personal strength lies and then delegate the rest. I do that now, but in the beginning, I spent a lot of time being frustrated because I tried to do it all myself.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Implement and take action. It’s important to “do or do not”, as the Yoda quote says, “there is no try”. Either you are moving towards your goal or you are moving away from it. When you have an idea, note it and formulate a goal around it. Set a deadline and take action steps each day to achieve that goal. No matter how small the step is, it is the daily action step that gets you there.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Again, trying to do it all myself. I think this is a challenge that all entrepreneurs face. Our minds move faster than we do and when we try to do it all, we tend to burn out and fail. The plus side of that is that we fail forward faster – but sometimes I wonder how the idea would have looked had I had a team to go along with the timing and momentum. I had to learn to delegate and outsource much of what I do, otherwise things did not get completed and it was difficult to move forward. When I decided that growth of my company was more important than me being in charge, things really began to move forward.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Write a book. No matter what business you are in, writing a book will give you credibility and recognition. The process itself will allow you to create a framework of your ideas. When you become a published author, doors which had been previously closed begin to open for you and new opportunities for more exposure on new channels begin to present themselves. There are so many ways that professionals and entrepreneurs can leverage a book, it’s really a wonderful tool to move forward faster. This is why I wrote Book Power: A Platform for Writing, Branding, Positioning & Publishing. I meet so many talented and gifted people who are stuck or not in front of enough of an audience to really make a difference in their businesses. A book is the game changer and being a published author is your entry into the game.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
Education. I would bring back the smaller and more intimate “little red schoolhouse” and allow children of all ages to learn together. The older ones would act as mentors to the younger ones and this would instill in them a sense of leadership and responsibility. I think the current education system is broken and archaic. It was created during a different time period and we have changed so much as a culture since then. Children learn best in mixed groups and all human beings learn best when teaching. Taking away the segregated concept of age separation would be a good first step. Then I would bring back more time outside, more arts, crafts, handwork and music. When I went to school the girls took Home Economics and Sewing and the boys took Woodworking and Mechanics. Each semester we worked on things we created and build ourselves and this brought a sense of fulfillment and self reliance. It made us assured and confident knowing we could actually “do” things. So many children today appear helpless and barely even know how to run and climb or communicate in a respectable and cordial manner with anyone outside of their own age group. It’s sad to see the statistics of child depression, bullying and suicide knowing that it is the system that is primarily responsible for making them so isolated.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I was born in Prague, Czech Republic and my parents escaped there in 1968. They fled to Vienna, Austria but there were too many Czech immigrants there at the time so they were sent to the USA. We arrived in this country not knowing anyone, not speaking the language and with no money. But I watched my parents build a life for our family and I consider that unique upbringing a massive influence on my choices in life. Itr instilled in me a self reliance, strength and a tenacity to keep moving forward, to succeed. It also gave me a strong pioneering spirit and sense of adventure.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
CreateSpace.com for their print-on-demand publishing. It is the most profitable, fastest and best route to getting your book published today.
WordPress as a platform for online presence. It is very user friendly, integrates well with all forms of social media and auto responders and it makes it simple for anyone to quickly and effectively build their presence online.
Screencast-O-Matic which is a very inexpensive screen capture tool. I like tools that help people move forward and not ones that have a large learning curve. Many of our authors are able to create full product lines around their knowledge and expertise very quickly once they know which tools to use.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience“ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. His ideas on being in a flow state describes how different people can easily create meaning in their lives with full intention and focus. This helps them to achieve an ongoing state of satisfaction, experience happiness and attain a sense of fulfillment. In other words, they do not make distinctions between work and play but rather live more fulfilled lives doing what they do best. It shows how focus and immersion can really catapult one’s efforts while making it seem effortless.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Simon Sinek – His book “Start with Why” is an excellent starting point for entrepreneurs. He has a way of seeing the world and sharing via his blog that truly inspires leadership.
Michael Drew – His ideas presented in “Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future” on our current culture are spot on.
Roger James Hamilton – His “Wealth Dynamics” system helps entrepreneurs find their strengths and understand that they do need others.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
It was just this morning. My children have an amazing sense of comedy and they love to laugh, which is always most contagious! My little one, Zynnia, is an Elvis fan and sometimes she will get on YouTube and just pull videos of Elvis laughing. That man had the most amazing laugh and it always makes all of us catch the laughing bug!
Who is your hero?
Professionally, it is Joseph Chilton Pearce. I love his dedication, commitment and work in the realm of birth, life, death and the mind. He is an exceptional public speaker on human intelligence, creativity, and learning. He has the similar quiet strength and presence of a great old oak tree, one I feel blessed to sit by and just take in the immense wisdom.
Why do you teach people to self publish?
I like it when people are empowered and self reliant. Their attitudes shift and life “magically” begins to look better for them. There are many people right now who are devastated with what is happening in the economy. Yet I know others who are living their wildest dreams and greatest successes and they do not have the same experience. The difference is that those who are suffering feel like they have no control, whereas the ones who are living fulfilled lives feel that it is in their power to do so. When authors write and self publish, they are really in control of the entire process of their book, from start to finish.
When not writing and speaking, how do you spend your time?
I spend it exploring, reading, and traveling. I have this insatiable love of learning and I feel we should be immersed in our interests to the point of obsession to gain full mastery. So to give an example, if we are learning about a specific country, we get the books from the library, we watch films from the place, we cook recipes from there, etc. We study the dress, habits, customs and traditions. Eventually, we want to see, breathe, taste, feel, smell and experience it ourselves, so we go there. I have done this my entire adult life and my children have been raised doing it, so now it is also a part of how they walk in the world. It’s a very powerful way of learning that my son calls “total immersion”. It also makes us very present in the now. It is very powerful and at the same time, relaxing and fulfilling.