Judith H. McQuown
Title: Book & Magazine Author & Editor and CEO, Judith H. McQuown & Co., Inc.
Education: A.B. Hunter College; New York Institute of Finance, former member New York Society of Security Analysts.
Previous Job Experience: Wall Street jobs as Secretary, Portfolio Analyst, Senior Investment Analyst, City of New York.
HelloBeautiful: Briefly describe your day to day activities and responsibilities as an entrepreneur and author.
Judith H. McQuown: Taking my Scottish terrier to the dog run every morning creates opportunities to network with many local entrepreneurs. My favorite opening question: “What have you been doing lately?” When I get back to my home office, I work on existing writing and editing projects, noting their deadlines. I plan to beat them by 2-3 days and always phone the client, telling them I’m bringing in their project and asking for another one. On Friday I contact clients I haven’t heard from in several weeks to find out about new projects, what’s happening in their lives, vacation plans, etc., and to ask for referrals to future clients. I also check for outstanding invoices and to plan my “past-due conversations” for Tuesday, after the weekend checks come in.
HB: Briefly describe what prompted your interest in writing and specifically, offering advice to those interested in becoming their own boss.
JHM: I began my freelance career as an author and editor. After several years, I was making enough money to realize I was getting killed with taxes, so I decided to find out about incorporating. Then I realized I didn’t want to waste my research and there had to be lots of entrepreneurs who could benefit from such a book. I wrote the proposal for the first “Inc. Yourself: How To Profit By Setting Up Your Own Corporation,” and sold it to one of my book-publishing clients without having an agent. Six book clubs bought the first “Inc. Yourself,” and the rest, as they say, is history. Now “Inc. Yourself 11” has just been published and will help a whole new generation of entrepreneurs.
HB: What suggestions regarding networking would you give to those seeking to work in this particular field?
JHM: As to advice to new entrepreneurs, I recommend working on your dream in your spare time–even if it’s only weekends–while you keep a day job, learn all you can, and make and save money. Being on sites like LinkedIn and MeetUp may be profitable . So may crowd funding Websites.
HB: What are the major challenges in your role as an author and what solutions have you deemed best to handle these challenges?
JHM: The greatest challenges are staying focused and on track to meet deadlines. Shakespeare probably had them, too! There was always alluring entertainment, socializing with clients, family activities, etc. Solutions are much easier now; there’s so much material on the Internet. If I’m writing a book, I organize it chapter by chapter, including the names of experts I want to interview, when I contacted them, questions I plan to ask them. I collect all my notes and ideas in that chapter, plan when to finish the first draft and then write the final draft.
HB: What would you contribute your level of success to?
JHM: I attribute a lot of my success to my grandparents and parents. My grandparents were European refugees who came to the US around 1905. They were determined that their children go to college because that was the road to becoming professionals, and all of them did. Back in those days, NYC colleges were free. My lawyer father hired me as his “secretary” when I was seven. I received 25 cents for every telephone message I took, and $1 if it was long and complicated. I learned a lot about business that way!
HB: Any advice for younger colleagues?
JHM: I urge my young colleagues to learn everything they can from their grandparents, parents, and older relatives–not only skills and advice, but American history. And especially my young female African-American colleagues to read about Madam C. J. Walker, the first American –not just African-American–self-made millionairess. Born in 1867 in Louisiana, she was the first child in her family to be born free. She made her fortune creating hair-care products and founded beauty schools to train young women. What an inspiring role model!
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