“A best-selling book is a great business card,” with authors Sara Connell & Phyllis Marlene Benstein
The greatest part to me is the visibility associated with becoming well-known as a subject matter expert or a resource in the topics I discussed in the book. It became a differentiator for me in my business and how I got there. A best-selling book is a great business card.
As part of my series on the “5 Things You Need To Know To Write A Bestselling Book,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Phyllis Marlene Benstein.
Phyllis Marlene Benstein is an international speaker, best-selling author, Founding Leader and Independent Market Partner with Monat Global, as well as a beauty influencer. With a background in electrical engineering, Phyllis is a role model for others to transition from Corporate to Entrepreneurship and have a successful second career after 50. Through speaking, workshops, coaching and signature events, she educates the public, health and hair professionals about toxins in hair products and their effects, whilst providing a complete line of toxin free, anti-aging products that renew, restore, replenish and/or regrow hair.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?
For many years my life was defined by Corporate America. Although my roots were in the fashion and beauty industry, I graduated from college with a B.S. in Electrical engineering and began my 25-year career in a male dominated, fast paced and demanding environment as a high frequency (Rf) design engineer. I loved the technical aspects of my job but struggled with the egos and negativities in a male dominated environment, further coupled with the glass ceiling, trying to be a wife, mom of four little children and have work life balance. About 14 years into that career I was introduced to a way to make some passive residual income as an entrepreneur. For many years I worked my beauty business alongside my tech career. But I continued to fall in love with the environment, freedom, flexibility, extreme positivity and the opportunity to work with other passionate and dedicated entrepreneurial men and women.
What was (so far) the most exhilarating or fulfilling experience you’ve had as an author?
Sharing my experiences and message that has been able to help others in similar situations has been the most fulfilling part of my experience. Having men and women follow up with me and say I inspired them to make a positive change in their lives and careers are true pay checks of the heart.
One of my fondest memories of this was when I was attending a personal development workshop, I had a conversation with a new acquaintance who was terribly burnt out, frustrated, and hadn’t met a lot of people that had successfully transitioned out of Corporate America. Through our conversation she left with a renewed perspective, outlook and it fuelled her desire to plan to make some positive changes to get the ball in motion to transition out of Corporate America and start her own company.
What was the craziest, weirdest, wildest experience you’ve had as a bestselling author?
My greatest experience as a best-selling author has been researching and attending other best-selling authors book launches. The wildest and most beautiful one launch I attended, which lead to me participating in their next project, was a formal event which began with a harp player, champagne and roses reception and ended with high tea. Extremely classy and out of all of the events I’ve attended, it has given me the most perspective of what I want and how I want to plan my future book launches. I will do multiple launches in different areas for different demographics.
What is the greatest part about being a successful, bestselling author?
The greatest part to me is the visibility associated with becoming well-known as a subject matter expert or a resource in the topics I discussed in the book. It became a differentiator for me in my business and how I got there. A best-selling book is a great business card. It’s something that I can hand out at events or refer people to so they can learn a-little bit about me. It has also afforded me opportunities to be featured, specifically at a women’s conference which allowed me to present to others a living, breathing example of career change and success, whilst also offering others the opportunity to join my business.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a bestselling writer?
For me it was the discipline to get that first book contribution done. To articulate and form my story and message in a way that would help, inspire and motivate others that resonated with my particular story. I had written a blog for a newspaper previously but had never taken on the project of being a book author.
Which writer or leader has had the biggest impact on you as a writer?
My mom wrote poetry and short stories and was my first inspiration to write, share, and inspire. Her stories were a collection of great memories and her poetry was always a hit at family get-togethers. People always enjoyed the poetry that she slipped into birthday and anniversary presents too. I enjoyed waking up to humorous poetry that was uplifting that my mother taped to the bathroom mirror so I’d see it first thing in the morning.
My other all-time favourite professional writer was the late Erma Bombeck. I truly loved her view of real life and how she portrayed it in a humorous way showing others to look at life not so seriously and find the humour in situations outside of our control.
Both women showed me how to look at the light and bright side of life.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a bestselling author? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge which ended up not really being a challenge at all, was to get the word out to the market about my book and create a PR strategy to make best seller status happen, whilst simultaneously positioning myself as an author and authority. To solve our challenge, we had a strategy to go to local media, radio and TV in order to spread the word through social media and word of mouth.
There is also the ongoing challenge of positioning myself as a best-selling author and leveraging that status so that others understand my area of expertise.
What challenge or failure did you learn the most from in your writing career? What lesson(s) did you learn?
The biggest lesson for me was to learn to plan out a daily or weekly discipline for writing and to have a central process that got me inspired to write whilst keeping me focused and motivated. For me a quiet place in nature was my central process.
The lesson learned was to create a process to get focused and motivated and to utilize the writing time set aside most productively. Otherwise I would waste precious time that I might not be able to replace.
What are 3 things you would tell your younger self who was just starting out on their writing journey?
When I was first asked to contribute to a book or suggested to that I write my own, I lacked some key insights and understanding of the power of my message and gifts that, if shared, could help others.
- If I could share a message with my younger self, I would tell her to take me out of the picture. It’s not about me. It’s about my message to help others. When I was writing my first piece, I worried whether it was good enough and worthy of being published.
- I’d also share to my younger self to be vulnerable in sharing my story. Showing my journey and struggles would help others in similar situations relate to me and see they aren’t the only one that have been in that type of situation and that it can be worked through.
- Then I’d tell my younger self to write the book I’d like to read. To become genuine in my writings and messaging so it would have helped me in my situation.
What are you most excited to work on next?
I have another collaborative book coming out in mid-2019 sharing more of my story and current business. However, I’m most excited about finishing and publishing my own books this year about the journey and process of going from employee to entrepreneur. Watch this space!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I’m already a part of the Healthy Hair movement, something I care deeply about. If I could inspire another movement it would be about diminishing workforce burnout. So many people get burnt out which hurts their productivity, focus, motivation and often leads to stress anxiety related issues and illnesses. Additionally, it affects a person’s mental health, ability to cope, home life and relationships. My movement would include products and programs for employees that are mind, body, spirit related, healing and pampering.
Thank you so much for these great insights!
About the author: Sara is an author and writing coach with a private practice in Chicago. She has appeared in Oprah, Good Morning America, NPR, The View and Katie Couric. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Tri-Quarterly, Good Housekeeping, Parenting, IO Literary Journal, and Psychobabble. Her first book Bringing In Finn was nominated for ELLE magazine Book of the Year. www.saraconnell.com