It’s not every day one gets to speak to someone who has published their own book. That’s why I was so excited to interview Sonia J Bergeron yesterday.
What a beautiful interview. Here’s what Sonia said…
“It’s always been my dream to write a book. It never dawned upon what I would write about, until there was a period in my life when things were really difficult for me.
I met this person on facebook, a man actually, and we began exchanging emails.
He made me understand that I must write a book, and and he encouraged me to move forward and write the book, even though at this stage I still didn’t know what I would write about.
We were telling each other about our lives and our past. We built a relationship, but an online relationship, you know. And he inspired me to write my book.
So I wrote my life story, but it’s written in a very particular way – it’s written in the exchange of emails between myself and this man. It’s the story of my life and some of his. In reality, he really motivated me. It’s the story of my life written in a very unique way.
I really wrote this book to inspire single women like myself to pursue their dreams and never give up.
I’m an entrepreneur, I own my own business. So it’s difficult at times, managing everything, and being an entrepreneur, you don’t get a steady income.
My book is living proof that a single mother can make her dreams a reality.
I self published it. I wrote it all by myself. I only hired somebody to fix some mistakes. The cover and putting together of the book, everything was done by me. That’s something I’m really proud of, however, it was very hard to get it into book shops. I didn’t have a Manager, and that itself is a full time job.
I’m in the marketing industry myself, but I realised that to market myself was very different. I’ve sold quite a bit, and I’m really happy about that, but it’s not a New York Times bestseller or anything.
In the end, when it really comes down to it – it’s just a dream of mine that I realised and something I’m really, really proud of. It’s also helped me with my website and my writing assignments. People are now hiring me to write for them on their blogs, because I am a writer and I have published a book. That helps a lot in getting new writing contracts.
So is that your full time job – writing?
I still have a marketing agency, specialising in the restaurant industry. I help restaurants get customers. I’m also into Public relations – I represent restaurants in the media, organise events and fundraising for them and so forth. I do that part time now and the other half of the time I write.
I wrote my book in 2009, then I put it on the market and left it there, and I never thought I would write again. I never dreamed that I would make a living out of writing, for one moment – ever. That is, until September last year (2015), when I came across Wealthy Affiliate, and started creating my first website. This was when I realised that I truly loved writing.
I lost my biggest client in the restaurant industry, and lost a huge amount of money. My choice was to go and find another client, and have the same thing happen to me somewhere along the line, or find some other way to generate income.
Then I fell upon Wealthy Affiliate. I started taking the classes. I went through Bootcamp in 3 weeks. I was really working day in and day out to build my website. The first website made me realise that I could make a living out of writing. And blogging made me realise that I really loved to write.
To date I have built 4 websites:
- Work At Home And Live Life – Where I promote Wealthy Affiliate, helping other people to build their websites.
- Success Dreams and Lifestyle – Here I blog about new trends, and post reviews on products I really like.
- A Blog For You – This is my website offering my writing services.
- Gagnez Votre Repas/Win Your Meal – Website for my restaurant business, this site is on the back-burner for now.
I get writing contracts on a regular basis now. I help other people build their websites. I got my first few writing contracts on fiverr but it took a long time for fiverr to release the money, and most of the writers on fiverr are only charging $5 for a 500 word article.
So although I got a couple of contracts there, right now it’s mostly through word of mouth. Fortunately one of my bigger clients referred me to an SEO company in New York . They have a lot of clients who need blogs on their websites, and most of my work comes from them.”
On Being a Single Mom
I have 2 children. My daughter, Marilyn (named after Marilyn Munroe as she is born on the same day as her), is now 23. My son, Diamantis (Andi), is 17. Both are still living with me. They are under my protection.
They see their father once in a while, but they have always been with me, and that’s the way it’s been forever. I pretty much raised them on my own. Their father is still present and always there to encourage them in their school and their lives, but they live with me. They were very young when we parted ways.
Was that challenging for you?
It was a challenge at the beginning. I’ve owned my own business for 12 years now, but before: I’d wake up early, take them to day care, do the traffic thing, go to work, fetch them, cook supper, run their baths… looking back I don’t know how I did it. At the time you just take it one step at a time. It’s the same thing with writing my book. I don’t know how I did it with everything else going on, but
I guess it’s just perseverance.
I became an entrepreneur 12 years ago. I said to myself I wanted the freedom. The traffic was horrendous. It was a leap of faith and it did take me back financially. It’s been like a roller-coaster since day 1. Last September, as I said, I lost one of my biggest clients and it represented a lot of money for me.
That’s why I’m really working hard on my online business, and really believe that in 3 or 4 years it will bring in enough money to work a little less.
How many hours a day do you work?
I work 12 hours a day on average. That’s a small day. I start at 6 or 7 in the morning and stop for dinner and then get back on my computer, and time really, really flies. I’m really fortunate because my kids are older, they are independent.
I’m still covering all of my children’s costs. Marilyn just finished her Bachelors in Communications and Political Science, and she wants to go to back to school in September to do a Law Degree. Now she’s taking a semester off and working at a jewellery store, and looking for a more serious job in her field of studies.
I take most of Saturday off, unless there’s something I need to do. Sundays I work again, just a couple of hours in the day. [I am noticing that most Mompreneurs work really long hours, but love it!]
I love to travel… I’d love to write on a beach sometime… [looking forward to welcoming Sonia to Cape Town!]
Here’s some more inspiration directly from Sonia:
Business is exactly like “real life”. What I mean is that we need to act in our business exactly like we do in “real life”.
Most of the time, some of us put up a barrier in order to protect ourselves for whatever reason. Perhaps it’s because we have been hurt, scammed, laughed at and/or ignored for that matter.
What’s holding us back from succeeding in our business? Why are others achieving ”success” and we are not? What’s so great about them?
Well, all I have to say to that is because we don’t stand up for what we believe in.
We don’t say what we mean. Maybe this is because we are afraid of what others will think.
I must tell you….others will not be paying our bills!
Stand up for yourself! Be real. Be authentic. Have integrity! Don’t be afraid to show your emotions. Everything comes from within.
This quote is from one of my favourite SJB (Sonia J Bergeron) blogs on Wealthy Affiliate – read the entire blog, go to: Why Aren’t You Achieving Success Like Others?
Highs and Lows in Your Career?
The low in my career was last August losing my biggest client – that’s probably the biggest hit I’ve ever taken. However, that’s what led me to Wealthy Affiliate, to writing and my websites. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be writing.
[Essentially Sonia took her biggest low in her career, and turned it into a highlight.]
My biggest accomplishment is writing my book, and creating my website – the one where I promote Wealthy Affiliate, I give blogging tips, what to do, what not to do.
Moms, Don’t Miss Sonia’s Article: 10 Reasons Why Mom’s Make More Money Working From Home
Greatest challenge in motherhood?
I guess it was keeping a happy face through the hard times for my kids. I never wanted my children to see or feel any drastic financial changes. Fortunately, I got back up very quickly with Wealthy Affiliate.
Has it been tricky balancing work and home life?
No, because during the day they were in school. At one stage, I would take them to and from practices, I would do it all. I really would do it all. They never complained that I worked too much. When they went to bed, I would write my book. They just saw me working, and they were used to it. It never affected anything they wanted to do. They are proud of me, they tell me.
Has your family been supportive?
Supportive is a big word. I guess my family never really worry about me because I always manage to pull through, and to make it. I never asked them, they wouldn’t really know – I’m more of the quiet type, I went through it basically alone. They live about 5 or 6 hours away, they are in the same province.
I lived in the North West territories when I was very young, I learned English as a second language as young as 5 years old. I did all my studies in English. English was always my second language (French is my mother tongue).
Did you miss out on anything as an entrepreneur?
I have no regrets of being an entrepreneur, although I have to admit, it dawned upon me to go get a job when I had that incident with my client, but I decided NO WAY.
“No Way will I go back to a Job… Because…”
I haven’t had a boss in the past 12 years, and I have a very leading personality, and I like to make decisions. Going back to work for someone else would have made me feel I was taking a step back in my life. I don’t like that feeling. I believe: move forward, let’s go on living our dreams and making them happen. Finding a job would have kept me back.
Any rituals to maintain your work life balance?
I do Pilates 3 times a week. It’s amazing, it’s like I need it and it’s put me back in shape. It’s the only place really where I can not think of anything.
Are you living your passion right now?
Absolutely, I’m very privileged to be doing what I’m doing. [Well, you’ve worked very hard for it.] It’s funny – people think because I’m at home all day working on my laptop, that I don’t actually work, but that’s really not the case.
Have you already created your best work?
I feel my website is my greatest work. I’m busy rebuilding it, making it better visually. I’ve taken it up a notch and I believe that once I’m done doing that it, it will really be WOW, and it will really take me to the next level.
If you were to die tomorrow, would you feel you were at peace, happy and fulfilled…?
I would feel I’ve done all that I can to live the best life that I can, however I would be disappointed because I want to travel.
I have travelled, but now I want to travel to Europe, Africa, Australia and China…
If I had to leave, I would be most proud of what I have accomplished, especially my children, because they are my greatest pride and joy.
The message Sonia would like the world to hear:
Never Give Up On Your Dreams
Book that had a huge significance:
There’s a book that I read called: Why Marry a Millionaire? Just Be One – by Wendy Robbins
It really inspired me to write my book.
My book is available in e-book format on Amazon.
It’s the story of my life, but behind it – it’s really a motivational book.
Read more about it here: My Facebook Love Affair
What advice would you give someone starting out as an entrepreneur?
You have to persevere. It’s really hard. You can go for a long time without making any money. If it’s really what you want, you have to persevere, and it will get better. There will be that day when everything turns around and things will be great, just persevere.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew when you started out as an entrepreneur?
I always knew it would take a lot of effort, energy and positivity. Actually, no, it’s been a great experience. Knowing something in advance might stop you from doing other things.It’s like asking: If you knew you the day you were going to die, would you want to know? That would be no.
Of course there are some things I’ve learned along the way, that I thought “why did no-one ever tell me” – but the process of finding things out was a great learning process and it’s made me what I am today.
Did you feel you missed out on anything as an entrepreneur?
It would have been great to have the perks of a job, but you can’t miss something you’ve never had, right? I’ve always been there for my children. If anything that would have been it, but no, I’m pretty happy with the route that I’ve taken.
Any tools of the trade that have been enormously helpful to you?
I would say Wealthy Affiliate has been the only tool, and it’s brought me to other tools. To name one, it’s really Wealthy Affiliate. It was a big turning point for me.
Come to think of it, this is the thing I wish entrepreneurs knew in advance.
I’m trying to figure out a way where I can really put the emphasis on how Wealthy Affiliate has changed my life.
If anyone starting a business, knew what I know, life would be amazing.
Did you study before Wealthy Affiliate?
I have a Bachelors Degree in Administration. One of my other dreams was to be a lawyer, and my daughter and son both want to become lawyers now.
I had my daughter at a very young age. I was 22, so it prevented me from pursuing my studies in law. I put my law degree on the backburner and studied Administration. It really served me well because it really taught me discipline. I guess that’s where it all started.
Any chance of a second book?
If there’s any kind of book, it will be an e-book to offer my clients on my website. At the moment I’m developing a 5 step video training to offer to my visitors for free, in exchange for their emails.
Visit Sonia’s primary website, and don’t Miss: 10 Obvious Reasons You Should Start Your Own Business
Click Below to go to Work at Home Life and Contact Sonia