Broke and hungry, I didn't realize that the minimum withdrawal was $20. I didn't know why but I probably believed back then I would look back and see how far I've went, I took a photo.
"Shit!" I thought. I had spent all my money into the expenses of my publishing business. This includes things like hiring writers, editors, cover designers etc.
I have never been completely broke but here I was, almost turning 17, talked a big game and facing my biggest ordeal ever. I didn't know what came into me but after that moment of realisation, I was feeling eerily excited. I wrote down all the pieces of the publishing process for me back then and broke everything down. From big picture to granular details, I deconstructed everything. By then, I've already published about 10 books and those weren't even making $500 per month. Considering that over $10k were invested, the returns were dismal.
After deconstructing everything, I highlighted those areas that I needed to focus on. I was looking for the 80/20 of the 80/20. What things were working well? What were the time wasters? After all of that, I basically "restarted" the entire business. I had a newer, cleaner business model and there was less stuffs. Less created more and by 2017. I had hit my first big milestone which was making more than $10k per month. This brings me to my first valuable lesson which every self-publisher must acknowledge.