Stacy Ennis is a best-selling author, coach, and speaker on a mission to help leaders clarify their ideas and harness their unique story to make an impact. Along with being the founder of Nonfiction Book School, an accelerated author program, her background includes ghostwriting for a Nobel Prize winner in medicine and leading as executive editor of Sam’s Club’s Healthy Living Made Simple, a publication that reached around 11 million readers. Her best-selling book, co written with Ron Price, is Growing Influence: A Story of How to Lead with Character, Expertise, and Impact. Stacy is also a member of Entrepreneurs Organisation London.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I’ve been obsessed with writing and books since second grade. As a child, I learned the power of writing and reading as a tool of influence, and knew my life path would somehow converge with the written word. Today, I’ve been in business for twelve years, during which I lived on four continents, worked with hundreds of impact-makers, and had two incredible kids. In all that time, my vision never faltered: I knew I was meant to help people share their ideas through writing. I founded my business in 2009 and it has gone through many evolutions to reach what I do today, helping leaders clarify their ideas and harness their unique story to make an impact.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
I was working as a high school language arts teacher in the Dominican Republic, and while I loved my students, I didn’t feel like I was living in alignment with my purpose. I knew I needed to be doing something that tapped into my talents for writing and natural alignment with entrepreneurship. So I started freelancing, trying to make a living as a writer for travel publications while working full time as a teacher.
Then my husband and I moved to Vietnam, where I taught again. We had terrible bosses there who yelled at my coworkers and led through domination and threats. One day, I went out to get a coffee during my break and my boss came out and threatened me with losing my job if I left the school grounds. I looked him squarely in the eyes and said I’d be back later. He didn’t fire me, but I left shortly after, heading back to the United States to really give my business a go.
Travel writing didn’t work out, so I switched my approach and began editing books. A few years later, I was a sought-after editor with a full calendar and a book deal to write a book about editing. I got my master’s in writing and editing, led a national magazine as executive editor, and worked with a Nobel Prize winner in medicine. Eventually, I transitioned into ghostwriting, book coaching, and to the current iteration of my business today, which includes an accelerated author program, Nonfiction Book School, and a team of writers and coaches.
How did you achieve awareness?
The main way people find me is through content I create: books, articles, podcast episodes, and more. I strongly believe—and have seen demonstrated time and time again—that writing a great book is one of the most powerful ways to achieve brand awareness.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
My business is completely self-funded. I’ve reinvested revenue to grow.
What are the key successes?
Seeing my book coaching clients and program students succeed has been my greatest success. They’ve been on major media, including the Today Show; hit best-seller lists; designed new revenue streams from the frameworks and insights gained during the book-writing process; and stepped into their purpose to live lives they love.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
I am the sole earner for my family and a mom of two. My husband is a wonderful supporter—he has been a stay-at-home dad for nine years and takes great care of our household.
As any entrepreneur knows, running a business is a wild ride not for the faint of heart. We have had some crazy lows during my nearly thirteen years in business, including losing a key contract (through no fault of my own) just weeks before my first child was born. This was completely devastating financially, and it hit harder than past challenges because it wasn’t just the two of us anymore—I had a baby to think of. I was able to replace the revenue before she was born and learned just how scrappy and resilient I can be.
What are your plans now/for the future?
I’m excited to lead another cohort of authors through Nonfiction Book School and continue speaking, teaching, and coaching. My goal is to grow thousands of authors who impact hundreds of thousands of lives through their thought leadership.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Remember this: talent and skill will only take you so far. Discipline and intentionality are two of the most important qualities you need to succeed in entrepreneurship. Show up, believe in yourself, and do the work.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
- Define the life you want and then work backwards. Create a business that gets you closer to the life you want.
- Write a book. Not only will becoming a published author profoundly impact your business, but you’ll also undergo one of the deepest, most transformative experiences one can have.
- Prioritise wellness, including rest, sleep, and exercise. Take the weekends off. Be present in your own life.
- Take back your brain from screens. Turn off notifications on all the apps on your phone. Check email twice a day. Don’t answer emails at night.
- Travel far and wide, and expose yourself to different ideas and cultures. An open mind leads to deep creativity and focus, and to an ability to lead with empathy.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
- Michelle Obama – her story of self-belief and commitment to her big vision, despite the obstacles in her way, is awe-inspiring
- Sandra Cisneros – her book, The House on Mango Street, inspired me to become a writer
- Thích Nhất Hạnh – I read his work in college and then moved to his homeland of Vietnam as a young adult; while I’m not Buddhist, his work has inspired me throughout my life
- Maya Angelou – I read her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, as a young adult, and her writing and activism has inspired me ever since
- My mom, Jo Lynn Hollingsworth – she is the kindest, most dependable person I know, with the biggest heart for others; I hope to be half the woman she is someday
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” — Mary Oliver
“To breathe and know you are alive is wonderful. Because you are alive, everything is possible.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” ― Stephen King, On Writing
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?