Member of the Week: Janet Bernstein, Author of the Memoir, Pizza on the Floor

Janet BernsteiinName: Janet C. Bernstein

Book Title: Pizza on the Floor: A Memoir

Your book’s Amazon purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Pizza-Floor-Janet-C-Bernstein/dp/1539632784/ 

What is your book about?  Pizza on the Floor is the story of growing up with a mother who had Borderline Personality Disorder, and all of the dark moments that I faced as a result. In this book I take a fictional journey across the country to see my mother, who is very ill. Though this hasn’t happened, telling my story this way was the only way I could forgive her and say goodbye. It is a story of how to rise above your obstacles and circumstances, even abuse or neglect, and learn to forgive those who may not deserve it or ever apologize.

Pizza on the FloorWhat inspired you to write your book? Whenever I tell people of how I was a young, single mother and how I faced so many incredible challenges growing up, I am often told how inspirational my story is to others. Finally, I overcame my fears of opening up about my dark childhood to let others in to see it and catch a glimpse of what I saw as a little girl. I’ve received emails, private messages, and even handwritten letters from people all over the country who have been touched by my story, so I know it was worth it.

Can you describe your writing process?  When I decide to start writing, I always begin with a Mind Map. I just allow my creativity to take over and start brainstorming my ideas on a sketchpad. When I finally identify what I want to write about, I take that mind map and create an outline. Then I just write. I wake up at 5 a.m. most mornings and write until 7 a.m. 

How did you come to do what you’re doing today? My business, Savvy Girl Media, helps women entrepreneurs share their story online, through website content, blogging, social media, and more. After spending 17 years in a corporate “vice president” role, I was bored and unfulfilled, despite finally making partner in my insurance agency. Before I could reasonably decide to leave on my own, I was bought out and given the opportunity to walk away. I took it. In addition to working with my wonderful clients, I spend much of my days writing, from books to blog posts, and more.

Can you describe a typical day in your life? Monday through Friday I am up at 5 a.m. to begin writing. By 7 a.m., I shut down the laptop and begin my day officially. I have two kiddos that I drop off each morning, and then it’s home to shower and begin my workday. I typically balance my day-to-day activities of coaching clients, web design, article- and blog-writing, and social media scheduling. By 4 p.m. I take a break to pick up kiddos and run any errands, and then my awesome husband makes dinner while I finish up my final workday. By dinnertime I am done with work, unless I have a huge project I’m working on, in which case I will spend one final hour or two working. I try to end my workday with dinner, and then once the kiddos are ready for bed, the husband and I watch a show on Netflix and relax until bedtime.

What do you most enjoy about what you do? My favorite part of my business is helping others realize that they have the tools and resources available to do it all, and helping them find the confidence to get there. I love writing because it gives me the platform to reach a greater audience. There are so many women entrepreneurs out there who are struggling to build their businesses, often feeling isolated and unsupported; I want to change that. My next series of books is completely focused on helping these women in their journey to success! I am so excited about them and what kind of effect they may have in the future.

Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey? I love reading anything by Brene Brown, who is incredibly authentic and full of real-world experience and knowledge. Her writing is brave and unapologetic, which is how I run my business and how I write my blogs and books. I also have come to truly admire Elizabeth Gilbert, who is outspoken and honest, yet humble. Her social media post following the sudden separation (and pending divorce) of her husband was so incredible to read. Despite going through some huge challenges, in the midst of standing in the spotlight, she is a breath of fresh air and continues to inspire her audience. 

Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you? I think what shocks most people about me when we first meet is that I have no college degree. I am a writer, speaker, coach and digital media expert. I am completely self-taught on how to build websites; launch social media campaigns; and design logos, graphics, brochures, business cards, and just about anything my clients may need. I started out as an eighteen-year-old single mom, and built my career from a call center rep to vice president and eventually, full-time entrepreneur and published author. I do believe education is incredibly valuable in today’s world; that baby girl I brought into this world when I was all but eighteen years old is now finishing her freshman year at Louisiana State University. I am a proud mom, but I am also a realistic one; my children all know that a college degree is just another resource and not the answer to success or life. Money isn’t the source of happiness, and a degree doesn’t guarantee the ideal job will present itself upon graduation. By watching my business flourish from my home office, my children are learning how to leverage unique skills and talents to impact the world in a positive way.

What’s next for you? I’m working on a series of books that are specifically targeted to women entrepreneurs who are starting a business or in need of a “reboot” because they are not making money, not finding the right clients, or are just unhappy with their business. I am finishing up the first in the series and very excited to share these with some of the women who are following Savvy Girl Media and have been asking for these resources. From branding and blogging to social media and networking, I am taking all of the knowledge I have learned from running my business for the past 18 months and putting into these books. My mission is to help thousands of women this year; my prayer is that my books reach as many as possible so they can begin to flourish!

Is there anything else you would like to add? In addition to Savvy Girl Media and writing, I am currently working on a passion project called The Every Heart Project. Our mission is to help women share their stories, through writing, speaking, or photography. We have several events each year, including our annual women’s retreat happening November 10-12, 2017. More information can be found at everyheartproject.com.

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