In Conversation with Angela Engel of The Collective Book Studio
Describe your business in a few words?
The Collective Book Studio is a full-service, partnership publisher. We work with content creators to produce and distribute high-quality books in the food and lifestyle, gift, and children’s categories.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
Having my third child was a pivotal moment for me, and encouraged me to take the leap to starting my own business. Creating a balance between work and family is important and starting The Collective Book Studio was an important next step in achieving that balance.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Word of mouth was the essential tool. Through existing networks within the publishing industry, I launched my business with the support of talented connections. My past experience working in publishing was a huge asset.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I think one of my biggest mistakes is when I allow my business to have a different set of rules for friends than I do for clients. When it comes to setting expectations around projects, roles, or finances I think I have learned it is actually important to have very clear expectations from the very first discussion prior to starting any project. Then I have set a clear business model and this is a partnership in business. Of course, friendships blossom along the way with clients, but what I have learned if you’re a friend first before business, it is very important to use the same set of ground-rules for a project.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
The caliber of the team I work with brings me great pride. We have a talented team of publishing experts, all dedicated to the art of bookmaking. The high quality of our work is a reflection of the passion of our staff.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
My go-to interview question is: What are you looking for from a team?
As for hiring tips, I am really interested in critical thinkers. I like to see when someone is self-motivated and self-directed. In the end, it isn’t whether they answer my question based on what they read on our website but rather it is their motivation, experience, and the way they are thinking about the role that is most interesting to me.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Adaptation was built into our business model. Our team was already working remotely, so our structure hasn’t shifted in response to COVID-19. However, we took this opportunity to be strategic in shifting the subject matter of our Fall 2020 publications. We chose to focus on publishing our parenting and education titles as families are adapting to the realities of remote learning.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Looking to the future, we will continue to expand the reach of our clients and the titles we publish. As a partnership publisher we aim to continue being a disruptor in the industry, creating opportunities for authors to be part of a collaborative publishing process.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Everything is temporary. More importantly do not be afraid of asking for help.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I knew how hard you have to work as an entrepreneur. Building your own business is an investment and requires you to be ‘on’ all the time.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Absolutely, a work/life balance is essential. Taking breaks and exercising are my forms of self-care. Establishing open communication with my team and clients and working from a place of honesty is important.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
How personally I actually take things.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Getting enough sleep, taking time for breaks outdoors, and writing lists.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
A woman who takes risks, is not afraid of being told no, strives to do her best and believes in herself, her idea, her dream and is determined to make it happen.