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An Interview With An Entreprenuer Essay

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Although entrepreneurial success is occasionally a result of luck, most would agree that it is achieved through a combination of sound business sense, planning, and spirit. An excellent example of the seamless execution of these elements of entrepreneurial success is PMA member Maia Haag of I See Me! in Wayzata, Minnesota. Here are some highlights of my recent interview with her.

Q: My Very Own Name is certainly an innovative book. What was your inspiration?

A: I was looking for a product with which to start my own business. I wanted something in print because my husband has a graphic design firm and printer contacts. I kept thinking about notecards, but nothing seemed unique. Then I received a personalized children's book as a gift for my son, and the light bulb went off. I loved the book because it was about him, but the illustrations weren't very well done and the story line wasn't very interesting. I thought I could write a book that was more educational, with higher quality illustrations. I was on maternity leave at the time. Each day, as I walked my son in the stroller, I thought of ideas for the book. Each evening, I'd share the ideas with my husband, and this one clicked.

Q: Many books published over the years have used the child's name in one way or the other. What did you do to make sure yours would stand out?

A: I thought of the concept before I had looked at all the personalized books on the market, which was probably a blessing because it allowed me to think more out of the box. Then I ordered every personalized book I could find to confirm that there wasn't another book like mine. I researched the industry as I started writing the business plan.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself. What is your b...


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...o reach upscale grandparents), and it was dismal. I have become very reluctant to pay for any advertising that has upfront fees without any sales guarantee.

Q: What's next for you and your company?

A: I'm working on another book now. This is the most fun part for me. I'm also working on translating My Very Own Name into Spanish. I have several product spinoff ideas as well, but I have to be patient so that the business doesn't become over-extended financially. I plan on running this business for years to come, so I have to remind myself to take things one step at a time.

Past PMA President and publishing consultant Bob Erdmann is a veteran of more than 40 years in book publishing. He created PMA's Trade Distribution Program, which has generated more than $15 million in sales for PMA members' books, and has guided many independent publishers toward successes.


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