How To Prioritize Your Time For Creative Passions
Sometimes you need to listen to your creative brain — even if it means devoting time outside of another job to fulfill your dreams. That’s exactly what Kinyel Friday, author and founder at KinYori Books LLC, has done. In this edition of Selfmade Stories with our friends at Office Depot OfficeMax, we chat with Kinyel, who founded a Black-owned self-publishing company where she writes and releases children’s books made to empower Black families.
B + C: If you were at a dinner party describing your business to a guest, what would your elevator pitch be?
Kinyel Friday: KinYori Books LLC is a Black, woman-owned self-publishing company that produces books and other products to empower Black families. My mission is to promote literacy among Black families, while encouraging children to love themselves while they’re young. KinYori Books aims to change the narrative by creating stories that include Black protagonists in books, as well as on the covers; deliver stories through a social work lens; entertain adults through fiction books; and provide positive images for children.
B + C: Where were you in your life when you came up with the idea for KinYori Books?
Friday: I was wondering what was holding me back from publishing. I've been writing for decades and my dream was to publish, so I finally leaped in 2019. I established my company and published my first book in Spring of 2020.
B + C: What did you feel was missing from the marketplace that led you to KinYori Books?
Friday: Books with Black characters on the front and as protagonists. Stories relevant to Black children's experience.
B + C: Is KinYori Books your own publishing company where you are the sole author or are you an independent book publisher that seeks and publishes books by other authors?
Friday: I am the sole author, but I wouldn't rule out publishing others in the future.
B + C: What are the biggest challenges you’re facing as an entrepreneur right now?
Friday: Marketing and getting the word out about my products.
B + C: On that note, how have you approached marketing your brand and raising awareness so far?
Friday: Making sure I stay consistent, whether it's online (social media, website, or other platforms) or in person. Realizing not everyone is my target audience, so being able to accept that and find my audience.
B + C: What are some wins or successes you’ve experienced that have propelled you forward?
Friday: I've gotten my first book on a couple of library shelves and in a couple of schools.
B + C: What sets your business apart from other publishing companies?
Friday: For my children's books, my goal is to teach children while they’re young to love themselves and my books derive from a social work lens. For my adult books, I aim to entertain and have folks get lost in them. As for my other products, I make items that help you get comfortable while reading (for example, a blanket).
B + C: Are you the sole person on this venture or do you have employees at this time?
Friday: It's just me, however, I do work with an illustrator and editing company.
B + C: What is your day-to-day like?
Friday: I have other employment, so I only get to work on my business nights and weekends. My goal is within five years, I will be able to give my business my undivided attention.
B + C: Do you have any tips or tricks for staying on top of things while running a business?
Friday: I use a few different tools. My number one go to is a spreadsheet with EVERYTHING organized in it. I also utilize sticky notes (paper and electronic) and Trello.
B + C: What are some of the ways you maintain your mental health or ways you stay focused while embarking on your entrepreneurial journey?
Friday: Advocate for mental wellness, read, write, take breaks, and talk to my family.
B + C: What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received that you would pass on to others?
Friday: Figure out who you are first.
B + C: Who or what keeps you inspired?
Friday: My family who is very supportive of my dream. Families who are looking for particular books they can relate to. Other talented authors.
B + C: What kind of legacy do you hope to leave with KinYori Books?
Friday: I plan to positively impact children with quality and positive stories. I want children to read my books and feel good about themselves. I want adults to be entertained by my fiction and become a favorite author. I want folks to see my passion.
B + C: What has receiving the scholarship to Selfmade done to help you grow your business?
Friday: It made me sit down and work through creating different ways to expand my business. I have a few ideas I'm exploring and I've incorporated in my five-year plan.
B + C: How have Office Depot OfficeMax services/products helped you accomplish more in your business?
Friday: The products have served as another means to get organized.
B + C: What's next for KinYori Books?
Friday: My next children's book will be released April 15, 2022. The third book of my Believe in Me series will be released later this year. I'm also trying to finish a novella I've been working on. And getting my books into more schools, libraries, and shops.
Just like many entrepreneurs before her, Kinyel is juggling her creative passions with a full-time job — which means organization is key so you can make the most of your time. Luckily, Office Depot OfficeMax has all sorts of tools and products to help you stay organized and save time with a suite of business services to help you accomplish more — from signs, posters, and banners to get your business noticed to marketing materials to help bring your brand vision to life.