Julia Maldonado’s 20+ years of experience in marketing and advertising and 10+ years in the digital space serendipitously translated into book publishing in 2020. While researching a publishing solution for her client’s manuscript, Julia noticed the publishing industry lacked a player that produced results with both quality and affordability. All of her research garnered either smaller, publishing houses that were much more affordable, but the quality was lackluster or adversely, the books were brought to market and promoted successfully, but at an outrageous budget and lower royalty for the author.
With the creation of InTandem Digital Press (a subsidiary of her company, InTandem Digital Consulting, LLC), Julia utilized her years of professional marketing experience and project management leadership (in concert with an award-winning author and mentor) to create an efficient formula and process for her clients who want to fulfill that life-long dream to publish a book, but don’t want to spend all of their life-long savings doing so.
Since its inception, InTandem Digital Press has had the pleasure to publish books with one of Atlanta’s Most influential CEOs in government leadership and also with another well-known, Academy Award winning author.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Julia Maldonado: I am thrilled to be here! Well, before I found my publishing passion I spent the majority of my corporate career in software developing CX teams and process efficiencies to streamline the customer experience. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Georgia State University. Early in my career, I successfully executed on any and all aspects of marketing in legal, real estate, and technology industries, by pushing for more direct approaches to clients and the media, which greatly increased lead-to-customer conversions. The very first law firm I worked with grossed over a million in revenue during this first year and grew from 5 employees to 16.
InTandem Digital Press offers a number of resources to help you along as a self-publisher or will work in tandem with you, as your official publisher, in executing all aspects of bringing your masterpiece to life- from manuscript to print! While an efficient process has been developed for your book, each project and experience is vastly different from one another. Because InTandem Digital Press prides itself on nurturing outstanding partnerships spanning across different industries and talents, we set out from the very beginning to learn about you and your goals. This is in order to meticulously pair you with the perfect resources for YOUR project. Whether that be a certain type of illustrator with a specific artistic style you’ve had in mind or a ghostwriter who specializes in technical writing, we either have the resource or will find the right resource for your specific project.
My boutique agency is virtually 100% remote, so I have clients from all over! I am grateful every day that I can work from anywhere and get to spend free moments with my husband and three children. We enjoy traveling (who doesn’t!), but something that sets our family apart is that we love getting into costume for any occasion, especially birthdays and Halloween. Our family goes all out and it’s always a good time!
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Julia Maldonado: Curve ball- try a total paradigm shift! 2020 was the year of digital transformation that will go in the history books/e-readers! I think what most corporate leaders are finally realizing is that they can no longer thrive or keep good talent, while neglecting employee engagement. Employees/people are tired of the long commutes that, for many, can be done from anywhere. They are completely over tirelessly, proving their value, only to be told ‘they are replaceable’.
So how can businesses thrive? It is imperative that you prioritize making the shift to digital (if you are not already). This means dedicating and investing at least 30%-60% of your 2022 budget (depending on how archaic your current practices are) to digitizing your internal processes, tools and sales, and marketing strategies. If you are the owner of your company or a decision-maker/stakeholder, you should ensure your teams are utilizing the most up-to-date productivity and project management software, your website and SEO strategies are optimized, and have evolved. These best practices have changed immensely in the last three years! You must evaluate your overall, digital online presence; your brand’s strengths and weaknesses- across your social channels, paid ad strategies, and content creation.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Julia Maldonado: Awareness, adaptation, and agility- the three A’s- ha! Yes, there is a lot more noise, distraction, and news we don’t particularly like to hear, but you MUST stay up-to-date on current events, trends, and the evolution of technology, in order to resonate with your audiences and target markets.
The advice I give to anyone overwhelmed or struggling with this, is that balance is key. Schedule bi-weekly, monthly, or some other regular, recurring interval of time for education. Tune into your segment of expertise and learn something new- even if it’s a YouTube tutorial while you’re on that Peloton!
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Julia Maldonado: The industry of publishing, like most other industries, has experienced huge increases in inflation. Freelance writers, illustrators, formatters, graphic designers are all charging more due to their own increased cost of living. Online tools have increased their monthly subscription fees. Book distributors and manufacturers have also increased their pricing to off-set pressures and losses due to supply-chain issues during the pandemic.
InTandem Digital Press has learned to leverage both in-house and outsourced talent. We have forged partnerships in order to maintain certain quality standards and also remain in a lower cost bracket for the authors. Because we are a smaller publishing option, we get to focus more on quality and consulting our clients, as opposed to obtaining a certain volume in order to survive.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Julia Maldonado: I think I was in a fortunate scenario at the start of the pandemic, as I was already doing online, digital publishing work and had already made the leap to start my own business. I think the advice I gave to many small business owners (or aspiring ones) was to go digital or spend this uncertain time writing that manuscript for their book. I am sure many who have not done so are regretting it now, but it’s never too late.
It’s never too late to re-prioritize goals, resources, and your time to these tasks that will only increase your credibility, authority, and revenue in your space.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Julia Maldonado: Online usage and e-commerce are only going to increase over time. It’s the way of the world. If you consider yourself less ‘tech-savvy’, find yourself fighting to adapt to new technology or using it as an excuse as to’ why a certain practice isn’t as efficient as it could be’, you need to step out of your comfort zone. Take a class, find a mentor and get on board! Otherwise, there is no doubt your business will fall behind and competitors will take over your market share.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Julia Maldonado: I would say 5-6 on average. My work is primarily done via the computer, Zoom or online in some capacity. I do make it a point to get out several times a week for lunches, face-to-face meetings or just to walk around the block. Some days it’s easier than others, but I try to make time.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Julia Maldonado: Communication and setting proper expectations are paramount. You may have some great practices to get clients or talented employees in the door, but neither will evolve into loyal partners without sound and consistent communication practices. Whether it is internal with team members or with our client’s communication is our #1 priority and the foundation of our organization. Some might say, well why not integrity or quality? Those absolutely matter- A LOT, but without the proper communication, none of it matters or will be held in very high regard.
An example of this I could share…hmmm. I will give you one internal and one external. These are by far the greatest processes I put in place early on when developing my company and I give them both 100% credit for InTandem Digital’s success and positive reviews. The internal piece is simple: proper onboarding and training. I communicate exactly what the role entails, the day-to-day, project particulars, and two-way, communication expectations. You must set your people up for success to do their job or YOU have failed.
I cannot tell you how many multi-million dollar companies I have worked with personally that had zero onboarding or training. You just cannot get away with ‘flying by the seat of your pants’ anymore.
I use this same principle externally, with clients. Early on, I created a client-facing implementation guide that spells out our process: what the client can expect as far as the project timeline, their own time investment, and our performance expectations and deliverables. Whether we’re publishing your book, designing your website, or conducting a customer journey mapping workshop, our clients are a part of the entire journey, know what to anticipate from the very beginning and are set up for success upon completing a project with InTandem Digital.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Julia Maldonado: The real challenge for this next generation of leaders is all of the noise and distraction. I work in social media management. Yes, you must establish a presence online and depending on your industry, you must also remain active, but knowing how to manage your time and effort there can make or break you as well. Measure what works and what doesn’t and adapt. Don’t waste precious time.
My best advice is to use common sense and to schedule EVERYTHING. I schedule both personal and professional activities and events. I schedule creative project-block time, as much as I schedule client meetings or trainings. I live by my calendar and it keeps me from the ‘senseless scroll’.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Julia Maldonado: One of my lofty goals this year is to learn more about the supply chain logistics related to the major book printers and manufacturers. We are fortunate enough to be in a great spot when it comes to the creative aspect, formatting, marketing, and the distribution of our book projects, but as we all know, COVID took its toll on every facet of supply chain management, no matter the industry. For us, it was difficult to get our hands on our own books. Many of the companies responsible for printing, whether paperbacks or hardcovers were having a tough time obtaining cardboard in particular.
What I have uncovered so far is that many of these major organizations that do the printing for distributors like Amazon KDP and Ingramsparks are still living in the dark ages when it comes to CX or Customer Experience and automation. There is a huge opportunity not only to capitalize here, but to help many more thought-leaders to bring their dreams of publishing their book, to reality!
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Julia Maldonado: Yeah, we touched on this a little bit earlier, but essentially this pandemic has awakened the workforce. It’s empowered us to realize that it’s better to challenge the status quo and step out of our comfort levels- for our mind, body, souls & loved ones! And yes, I do know of some of these leaders who refuse to assimilate for fear of change, but they are already losing great talent and revenue. They will eventually have to fall-in-line with the times or resign themselves.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Julia Maldonado: Oh my goodness, it would have to be the ability to duplicate myself or my great partners in order to get more done!
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Julia Maldonado: I have some pretty strategic goals for 2022, but basically it’s to level up my own business practices that I preach and teach to other small business owners LOL! I am in the business of helping other leaders and businesses to ‘level-up’, grow and scale, and often de-prioritize my own, so it’s time!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Julia Maldonado for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Julia Maldonado or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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