Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bobby Hawthorne, Freelance Writer, Editor, and Writing instructor/coach, located in Austin, TX, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I write and teach writing. I'm hired by various education entities (public and private schools, universities, journalism associations) as well as publishing companies. I write books as well as feature stories and personality portraits for education association bulletins, small-market general interest magazines, and whatever else drops in my lap. I recently finished my first novel and am working on a second one. Now and then, I write poetry and help good friends write wedding vows, father-of-the-bride speeches, obituaries, and eulogies.

Tell us about yourself

I grew up in a small town in East Texas. I was involved in just about everything at my school, especially sports, student council, and student publications. I attended a community college for two years while working full-time as a daily newspaper sportswriter. Then, I attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a degree in journalism. I worked another couple of years as a reporter and editor. In 1977, I was hired as a media liaison for the University Interscholastic League. In 1979, I was promoted to director of journalism. In 1999, I was promoted to director of academics. I retired in 2006 because I was sick of administration, and I wanted more time to write and teach. What motivates me to do what I do? Probably fear of failure. To explain: Many years ago, I was forced to attend a staff development seminar, and I remember the speaker asking, "What is your reputation worth, and how cheap do you sell yourself today?" Since then, I've had to ask myself, "Is my reputation worth less than deciding to cut corners or take liberties?" When I phrase it like that, I almost always do the right thing. Not always.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I always make a deadline. I may slide under the gate right as it's closing, but I'm almost never late. A deadline is an agreement, and being late is a choice. The choice to be late says, "My time is more valuable than yours."

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Knowing you don't know everything you need to know. When I was with the UIL, we hired interns and students who were well-versed in all the latest gadgets and apps and so forth. Now, it's just me and Google, and YouTube.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Give your customers what they want and need and can't get anywhere else. If you want to start selling T-shirts and sunglasses in Key West or flip-flops on Venice Beach, good luck.
  2. Provide friendly, knowledgeable service. Train your employees to speak clearly, make eye contact, and know everything about the product. Go into Chic-Fil-A or In-And-Out Burger and place an order. This is what you'll get: Hospitality, efficiency, cleanliness, and a damn good sandwich.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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