YiShaun Yang walked away from a lucrative career as a corporate attorney in Manhattan to become a mom and a small-business owner.
Her idea to start AdoraPet, which publishes children’s books, came while filming a pet documentary for kids. The documentary’s real puppies live on as cartoon characters in her illustrated books.
Yang (pictured), who aims to write publish several each year, with the help of hired illustrators, has released eight titles since 2011.
The GoPayment Blog recently caught up with Yang, who’d just returned from maternity leave, to chat about how mobile-payment service supports her entrepreneurial dreams.
GoPayment: You left the corporate world to launch AdoraPet. What lessons from your career as a lawyer are helpful to you as a business owner?
Yang: There are specific legal aspects that I was able to use, like setting up the business, having the right documents, and drafting my own agreements. In general, the lessons that I learned as a corporate attorney that have been useful as a business owner are being able to juggle many different things at once, having a quick turnaround time, and accomplishing multiple tasks with a phone call and a reasonable discussion.
As a new mother, what challenges have you had to overcome as you juggle that responsibility with growing your business?
With a baby, nothing is ever predictable. I joke with my husband that parenting is part science, part superstition. For example, there are books and books about how to get a baby to sleep and the science of newborn sleep, but at the end of the day, if dancing and singing got him to sleep the night before, we are going to do it again in the hopes that it will continue to work. As a result, it’s been hard to have a set schedule and a predictable amount of time to be able to dedicate to AdoraPet. However, that lack of time has taught me how to be even more efficient and innovative in reaching my business goals.
Your goal to offer ethnic diversity in AdoraPet’s books is a breakthrough idea. Were you frustrated with what was already out there? Are there any examples of other picture books that inspired you?
There was a recent study that said more than 90 percent of books for children and young adults in the United States were written by white authors about white protagonists. I didn’t like how that left the 30 percent of U.S. children from different backgrounds without a meaningful selection of books that reflect the way they look. It also leaves all children deprived of exposure to diverse backgrounds, especially during the early learning years. It was really important to me that the children in my books came from different backgrounds and ethnicities. One of my favorite picture books is Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss. I love how it’s inspirational for children, and my AdoraPet books have the same message of possibility and imagination for children.
How does GoPayment help you run your business more efficiently?
GoPayment gives me a lot of flexibility to run my business on the go. I really like how there are no contractual obligations, no signup fees, and no monthly fees. This gives me the option to use it whenever I want and offer it as a payment option to customers.
What advice do you have for children’s book writers who are eager to get their first title published?
The first decision an aspiring writer has [to make] is this: Do you go the traditional route of getting a literary agent and/or submitting your manuscript to an established publishing house that will do all the marketing, sales, and distribution for you, or do you decide to use all the democratized tools the internet can provide to self-published authors?
If you go the traditional route, you risk having your manuscript rejected and not being able to see your dream of publishing a book come to fruition, but if it’s accepted, you have legitimacy and a well-oiled machine getting the word out about your book to bookstores and book reviewers.
If you choose to self-publish, you will have to do all the heavy-lifting of getting the word out there and sales, but you can use social marketing [tools] like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs as affordable ways to help you. Also, you will have to front the money to get the book printed if you want hard copies, but you also have the option to sell e-books on Amazon, negating a need to print and warehouse books. You are also able to get your book out to potential readers much more quickly and get their feedback immediately with e-books than you are with the traditional method. There are pros and cons to both, and it really depends on the individual’s preferences.