In today’s leaders talk, I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Alex Mathers, a writer, coach, and illustrator, currently based in Krakow, Poland.
Alex started his career as a researcher for a property magazine, before working full time as a digital illustrator and building a global design and consulting business “Red Lemon Club” from scratch.
Alex has written several non-fiction books and built a readership of over 30,000 readers.
Alex coaches founders, entrepreneurs, writers, helping them in a way that is energizing and fun. He has worked with clients including the BBC, Mars, Dots Games, Saatchi & Saatchi, Wired Magazine, 99U, Secret Cinema, and Google.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a 36-yo life and mindset coach, author, writer and illustrator. I love science fiction films and climbing mountains. I enjoy living fairly nomadically, currently living in Krakow, Poland and prize freedom and enjoying life over a lot else.
What inspired you to pursue writing? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I began writing a lot in my early twenties a decade and a half ago when I started a blog, called: ‘Red Lemon Club.’ I wanted to build an audience and make money selling ebooks. I loved being able to connect with other followers and readers online, and enjoyed the process of gradually mastering the craft of writing persuasively and engagingly.
What do you write fiction or non-fiction? Does a specific genre or market matter before writing a book?
I write mostly non-fiction on ideas around the mind, psychology, creativity and productivity. I am fascinated by human behaviour, and what motivates us. I write for myself first, and then an audience second. My target audience is entrepreneurs and creatives. I relate to them having spent most of my life working for myself.
What sort of challenges you had to face in the initial years? How did you improve your writing?
Lack of traction and interest can be tough. I improved by showing up, writing more, and writing for self-improvement first, rather than likes and comments. I could tell I was writing better when I enjoyed writing it. There is a direct link between words I enjoy writing and the success of that piece. Focusing on the latter is a recipe for disappointment if you are just starting.
How long does it take you to write a book? What is your writing schedule like when you writing?
I usually write shorter books that aren’t usually more than 15,000 words. They usually take me two to three weeks, and I focus on little else in my work other than writing during those more intense periods.
How did you transition to Entrepreneurship from your 9-5 job?
I fell into it through selling stock illustrations on a stock website. I did this to earn passive income by selling art for royalties. I gradually attracted clients who wanted to commission me, and over time, I was able to transition from employment to working for clients around the world.
Where and how do you find your ideas/epiphany for your books or articles?
Usually after I have been walking or exercising. My best ideas are never forced. They appear usually fully-formed, and I can write them quickly as newsletters or articles.
What is Writer’s block? How do you overcome writer’s block while writing a journal or a book?
It is the discomfort one feels when coming face to face with the idea that there are no ideas. This is combatted through writing. Initially this writing will not feel like it’s any good. That is ok. Good writers are willing to make mistakes in their writing, and write poorly to create momentum.
Is Solopreneurship hard to pursue? Please share some tips for a newbie to get started.
Yes it is initially, because you have to deal with your own limiting doubts every day, with no one to guide you. If you can bear with the harder moments, and understand that consistency and grit are key, you will succeed.
What are the skills required to excel in Digital Entrepreneurship in present times?
The most important skill is being relentless. Relentless in your creativity, networking, and production. You need to be seen. People need to know you. You must build community and audience. This is daily work.
How do you get constant ideas for your contents?
The more you create, the more creative you become.
How do you get your books published? Are self-publishing and self-promotion better than getting them published through Book Publishers?
Amazon, though there are so many options for publishing in many different places, via online. I have only tapped the surface. A book deal is worth it if you are confident your book will sell hundreds of thousands.
Both methods have pros and cons. Self-published is a great way to create, publish and earn, quickly.
How important are the Title, Cover, and Marketing of books? Are these more valuable than the Book’s content itself?
They are crucial because it’s the first thing people see and base their decision on before they buy or borrow. It has to grip them and look quality.
What things would you suggest to new writers or people contemplating writing as a career?
Don’t expect any interest until you have written at least 300 articles and have found your groove and style as a writer. It may well happen before this, but give yourself room, and don’t get disappointed prematurely. You can’t fail if you are consistent and don’t quit.
Who and what inspires you to keep going? How do you keep yourself motivated?
I ensure that I enjoy the work. That’s key. I also want to build an empire. I set exciting goals.
How do you keep yourself updated with the latest trends in the Digital Entrepreneurship space?
I keep an eye on social media and the heart-beat of places like YouTube and Twitter.
What is your take on audience building?
It is vital, and everyone, no matter their profession must build an email list. It is one of the most powerful assets out there, and creates a strong plan B for employed work. It is a lot easier to build an audience when you start taking interest in people, and are willing to do a lot of work for free sharing tons of value.
How do you network and connect with great people on the Internet?
I share plenty of content, and I am active with anyone who responds. I treat every subscriber and follower with utmost respect and care. You are building a network of individuals, not faceless sheep. It always surprises me when I see creators ignoring their comments and followers.
Tell us about your brand-building exercise and strategies.
I am still a student in this. Always learning. Mostly I just continue to create. I try to outwork everyone. One of my values is creating prolifically. You live once. I am happy to create like a maniac until I am dead. That’s my philosophy.
What are the lessons learnt in your entrepreneurship journey? What had you known earlier that would have made your journey smoother?
It’s easy to think we’re on the wrong track a lot of the time when we don’t see results quickly.
Those who stay with ONE thing longest, usually win.
What advice would you give to other professionals who want to transition to Internet Entrepreneurship? What Mindset shift would you recommend?
The key thing is in getting out of your own way. Our thoughts can be great saboteurs. The most important skill is letting go of worries and just acting.
How do you navigate the fear of the unknown, especially in the post-pandemic world?
I ask, not ‘why me?’ I ask: ‘How can I USE this?’
What do you put your success down to?
Persistence and finding ways to enjoy life every day.
What drives you to keep going when it gets tough?
Getting present and finding the wisdom to continue.
How should people connect with you?
Follow my newsletter first and foremost. You will not be disappointed. It is one of the best newsletters in the world: alexmathers.net/newsletter
Follow me on Twitter too, if you have the balls to: @iamalexmathers