Streamline Books Year-in-Review Part 2: IMPLEMENTING THE SYSTEM, BUILDING A TEAM, AND LESSONS LEARNED FROM A VISIONARY
For our last two blog posts of 2022, we wanted to write a two-part series from our perspective of Integrator and Visionary, respectively. The language is taken from the book Rocket Fuel written by Gino Wickman and Mark Winters. If you are reading this, we are so grateful for your support in some form or fashion with Streamline Books. We believe we’re just getting started, and look back on 2022 with a certain fondness and healthy exhaustion. We’re ready to build on this year for an even more exciting next few months ahead!
(Alex here) We have been blown away at how God has connected us with amazing authors this past year. At Streamline Books, we help prospective authors write and publish their book in a 16-week process. As we headed into 2022, Will and I mapped out the number of authors we wanted to work with in the span of a year and we literally quadrupled our estimate. We could have never accomplished this on our own or even imagined accomplishing this in year one. What has been so clear to us in the past year is that people and their stories matter. Our world is full of news and depressing updates. At Streamline, we want to promote and push awesome stories forward.
A stat that we talk about often is that 81% of people want to write a book someday but each year, only 1 % ever get around to it—one of our goals is to help close that gap and help people share their message and story with the world.
As Will and I set out on this journey to help authors write and publish their book, we knew that we couldn’t do it alone. As we started to grow our business, our first thought was to bring on as many talented writers as possible. We quickly realized that without appropriate systems, our team would be working without urgency and clarity. In July, we were so excited to bring on Trevor Waite who serves as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Streamline Books.
Trevor has a highly decorated background when it comes to growing and building systems but the most decorated highlight you will have to ask him about is his National Title he won as a college basketball player at Indiana Wesleyan University!
As Trevor joined the team, he was quickly given the nickname “The Chef” because he is truly amazing at implementing systems (cooking in the kitchen) that ensure an incredible client experience throughout the book writing process. I will explain a few of these systems in the following section after introducing you to our second addition to the team.
Another exciting update that has occurred in the past month is the addition of Annika Bergen as Editor-in-Chief at Streamline Books.
As soon as we spoke with Annika for the first time, we knew she would be a perfect fit to lead our team of writers and editors at Streamline Books. Annika has spent her last seven years ghostwriting books for many well-known authors, including the CEO of Hobby Lobby!
As Editor-in-Chief, Annika oversees all our book production and ensures quality control of all books that are published. With the addition of Annika, our bandwidth to take on new book projects has increased significantly while maintaining a great experience for each client we get the opportunity to work with. We are so grateful for the additions of Annika and Trevor to the team in 2022, and we can’t wait to see the amazing work they will do in the years ahead at Streamline Books!
Our team has been reading through the book Traction which is truly an incredible read. The book teaches businesses how to develop systems for long term growth and sustainability. Later this month, our team will head to St. Louis to lock ourselves in a conference room for two days to work through these principles. On the surface, one could argue that taking two days to do this decreases our production, but we believe that taking these two days off will supercharge our growth and help us focus on the direction we should be heading as a team for the long haul.
Part of the Traction approach that has been so helpful to our team is the development of systems. Most people who set out to write and publish a book have zero systems or deadlines they operate out of—they simply just start writing and wait to see what happens. We have learned that the most efficient way to finish a book is to bring a team around each author to ensure success. Each client we work with has a team of these three individuals
1. Writer. (Developmental Editor or Ghostwriter). For some clients we simply edit their manuscripts and for others we fully ghostwrite their book. If editing, this “writer” role serves as a high-level editor. If we are ghostwriting a book, this writer serves as the lead writer for the client.
2. Editor. (Copy Editor) One of the most important things to have when writing a book is a high-quality editor. We work in a collaborative sharing environment, so as the editor is editing, they can leave comments and suggestions to the client. This creates a great working system for everyone involved in the project.
3. Project Manager. The PM on the project ensures that deadlines are met as a team and that the project moves forward accordingly. We believe that the PM role is necessary when attempting to finish a book in a 16-week timeframe.
Niche Down to Scale Up
As a team, we have had to learn the hard way that we are not the right fit for every client. We can’t be everything to everyone. I believe that many businesses try to change their entire business model to gain one client who is willing to pay them, but we don’t think that is the right way to scale or serve our clients well.
What we have found is that the more niched down we get in our offering and our ideal client, the quicker and more effectively we can scale.
It seems counterintuitive to niche down because you want your product or service to be available for everyone, but we have learned that a product that is for everyone is really for no one.
I was proud of our team this past year when we came to the realization that we built a particular offering early last year that was not sustainable, and we decided to rethink the entire process. Ultimately, we scratched the original plan and landed on a much more efficient solution for our clients.
A Visionary View of the Future
The more we research the publishing industry, the more confident we are in the offering that we have built. In many ways, 2022 was spent experimenting, testing, and researching. I believe that 2023 will be spent implementing within the awesome systems our team has built.
We know that we are just getting started and can’t wait to help more people in 2023! Thanks for supporting us as we build and grow Streamline Books. We can’t wait to share meaningful and encouraging content with you in the years ahead! If you are considering sharing your story or expertise with the world, we can say with confidence that you do have a story to share, and we would love to help you share it!