A life in publishing

“Various times it has crossed my mind that it’s kind of simpler to have a job, but I have a two year old son. Even though it’s a challenge to have a toddler at home when I’m working, I don’t want to leave at 7am and come back at 9pm.”

Michael Lommel runs his own publishing company, and helps other businesses with their internet marketing.

When he decided to work for himself, “I knew authors, I had some contacts in publishing, and I knew people who needed websites and online marketing strategy. I just started to get clients sort of right away. It’s now mostly for me, personal networking and word of mouth, and for me (in this particular part of my business), it's a preferable way to connect with clients.”

Publishing is obviously going through a lot of change. “With e-books in one way it’s easier because you can sell it to somebody directly online; but then there’s many competing formats, every week there’s a new feature, or a new e-reader. So you need to be strategic about how you choose your priorities, distribution, and how you set up the file so that it’s easier to go to multiple channels.”

And like any small business, income can be lumpy. “Cash flow can be an issue. You might have a couple good months, then some projects take a lot longer than you would expect.”

I don’t have an alarm clock

But he’s clear on the joys of being his own boss nonetheless: “being able to have your own idea and just follow it to your heart’s content, rather than having to get it reviewed by multiple layers.”

“It also makes you pretty agile. So for some of my titles, for instance, I saw an opportunity available in a new way Amazon was working with Kindle. So we were able to implement that within a day or two for several titles.”

“When you’re working for yourself you can create a space, in the midst of trying to get things done, to connect with your vision.”

“Then of course, the other thing is that I don’t commute anywhere. I don’t wake up and get on the highway. I wake up and we have this huge bamboo grove here outside the window. I don’t have an alarm clock. So that’s all good.”

It's a challenge to delegate more

The thing he finds tricky is handing work over to someone else. “I wear all the hats. One reason organizations, like companies, work is because different people have different specific roles. For me, personally, it’s been a challenge to delegate more.”

“I work with several independent contractors on projects as they arise, and just recently brought on one person to work on specific social media projects part-time, but I feel I could be doing more of that. I feel a pull between wanting to stay simple, and a DIY ethos, and the 'economies of scale'.”

“I think I don’t want to end up with ten full-time employees say, but I could be wrong about that. Maybe there are other approaches."


Michael Lommel is a publisher, www.karinalibrary.com and an internet marketing consultant

Business size: 

1-5 people

Business location: 

United States


Michael has been working for himself full time for six years

Image: Michael Lommel

About the author

Jessica Kennedy
Tuesday, 24 July, 2012 - 11:57
United Kingdom

Jessica is an acupuncturist, www.jessicakennedy.com, and the founder of www.smallbiztribe.com.