Read and Write with Natasha

Balancing comedy, writing, and business with Kristen Van Nest

April 08, 2024 Natasha Tynes Episode 52
Balancing comedy, writing, and business with Kristen Van Nest
Read and Write with Natasha
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Read and Write with Natasha
Balancing comedy, writing, and business with Kristen Van Nest
Apr 08, 2024 Episode 52
Natasha Tynes

Send us a Text Message.

Kristen Van Nest, an author, actor, and comedian, joins us to recount the lessons learned while navigating this tumultuous yet exhilarating journey.

From the conservative confines of her upbringing to globetrotting adventures, Kristen's story is a testament to the fearless pursuit of personal and professional fulfillment, detailed humorously in her memoir Where to Nest.

In a world that often equates success with a linear career path, Kristen's narrative shatters the mold, proving that the road less traveled can make all the difference. She discusses the significance of family support and the courage needed to leap into the unknown. 

Balancing a successful copywriting business with her comedic and writing pursuits, Kristen embodies the poise and resilience of someone who truly understands the art of the hustle. 

Throughout our conversation, Kristen tackles the gritty realities of memoir writing, the intricacies of book marketing, and the hurdles of managing an Airbnb venture with unyielding humor and insight. 

Don't miss this fun, enlightening episode.

Support the Show.

****************************************************************************

➡️ P.S: If you find my content useful, you might want to check out my Substack newsletter, in which I talk and vent about the writing life:


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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Kristen Van Nest, an author, actor, and comedian, joins us to recount the lessons learned while navigating this tumultuous yet exhilarating journey.

From the conservative confines of her upbringing to globetrotting adventures, Kristen's story is a testament to the fearless pursuit of personal and professional fulfillment, detailed humorously in her memoir Where to Nest.

In a world that often equates success with a linear career path, Kristen's narrative shatters the mold, proving that the road less traveled can make all the difference. She discusses the significance of family support and the courage needed to leap into the unknown. 

Balancing a successful copywriting business with her comedic and writing pursuits, Kristen embodies the poise and resilience of someone who truly understands the art of the hustle. 

Throughout our conversation, Kristen tackles the gritty realities of memoir writing, the intricacies of book marketing, and the hurdles of managing an Airbnb venture with unyielding humor and insight. 

Don't miss this fun, enlightening episode.

Support the Show.

****************************************************************************

➡️ P.S: If you find my content useful, you might want to check out my Substack newsletter, in which I talk and vent about the writing life:


Speaker 1:

I think, like starting your own business and creating your own like revenue stream, it's going to take a couple years. I don't care what anyone says on TikTok, where they're like, oh, I bought like a ATM machine and now I'm a millionaire like I'm not gonna buy that. If that is true, which I'm questioning, that's like a unicorn. That's not a normal thing. It usually takes a couple of years for you to really build your business, and so I would keep your current income while you're doing that, but think about where you put energy.

Speaker 2:

Hi, friends, this is Read and Write with Natasha podcast. My name is Natasha Tynes and I'm an author and a journalist. In this channel I talk about the writing life, review books and interview authors. Hope you enjoy the journey. Hope you enjoy the journey, hi everyone, and welcome to another episode of Read and Write with Natasha. I have with me today Kristen Van Nest, who is a writer, actor, comedian and a storyteller that brings people together. She is author of the comedic travel memoir when to Nest. So, kristen, so happy to have you with me here today. So where are you now?

Speaker 1:

I'm based in Los Angeles, California, so I've lived here for about six years and in life excited for my book to come out still figuring out life, all right.

Speaker 2:

So this book, it's. It's coming out soon, like in a couple of weeks. Right, it comes out in april, in april, oh wow okay, so you got one of the first copies. So it's gorgeous, by the way. I mean, whoever did the cover design is like really talented. I need the name better on, but okay, yeah she's.

Speaker 1:

She makes posters for movies and is based in la and she's amazing, so okay, this explains it.

Speaker 2:

So it was not chad gpt. Okay, got it. So, christine, can you tell us a bit about this book? Uh, you know what is it about and I really want to hear about um, the, the ex-boyfriend who tried to kill you, as well. That, oh yeah, fascinating, exciting. So let's talk about the book. If you can tell us a bit about, yeah, so it's really a search about belonging.

Speaker 1:

I feel like growing up, I grew up in a pretty like conservative town in Connecticut and I was very much taught, you know, like all the moms were stay at home moms, so that was like what everyone like. That's like if you looked around. That's like the opportunity for women and like what a lot of my friends and goal was, which there's nothing wrong with that, it's just like it's one option. So growing up and I also feel like growing up we're like told all this advice like you have to get a good job, you have to climb the corporate ladder, you know. You have to be a good mother, you have to do all these things, you, you have to have kids. Like there's all these things where, like there's kind of like a general narrative and I feel like you know feminism, like there are things changing. But I feel like a lot of times, the way that, like we see the level of feminism that is like seen that we've reached, like when you actually look at like at least from my life experience, like the opportunities women have, like it's still not where, it's still not an equality, let's say. So I wanted to kind of talk about like well, like what, if you know? And my story is that I just like moved all over the world. So I was just like huh, like I'm just gonna do this, like there was no, like well, this is what you're supposed to do. I'm like I'm just gonna do it. And then, like being there or like in you know, I moved to Luxembourg for Fulbright scholarship and then I lived in China for three and a half years working in the wine industry and for beauty companies. So for me I was just kind of like I'm gonna make my own path, and then like, is this okay with me?

Speaker 1:

So a lot of the book is kind of like about understanding, belonging and like understanding can you do your own path? And like, is it okay? Like are all the things that you've been told right? Like you're gonna not be able to support yourself, you're not going to be able to have kids, you're not gonna be able to have a family, like are all those things like thrown out the window? If you like, spend all of your 20s traveling the world, which is what I did.

Speaker 1:

And so the book's message is very much about like no, like you don't need to be. Like have everything figured out by 30. You don't need to have everything figured out by 40. Like there's no timeline that you have to meet. It's really whatever you want in your own life, and so those are choices that you make and that's kind of really the message of the book. But, set on like a global background where it's like me traveling and, um, almost getting murdered by by an ex, you know, or a guy was gonna be found in place, but it's fine, um, while skiing in the house you know these things happen and why did he try to murder you?

Speaker 1:

um, he took me on off-piste, which is off-sewer skiing in Andermatt in Switzerland, and he decided to take me like off-piste, which means off the trail, and so I'm like following him, like oh, this is fine. And then we're at like a 45 degree, like just straight down, and if I ski too far off, because this isn't officially where people are supposed to be I fall off a cliff. So I was like cool, so I can't go back up because we're too far down. And going down like there's like I could die. Like if I just ski a little bit too far to the left, I could die. So I ended up just like barrel, rolling like a sack of potatoes down the hill, and he was like that's not how you're supposed to do that. And I was like you, um, but uh, he was like you don't learn unless you fall, and I was like another option is dying. So what the hell?

Speaker 2:

so yeah, I'm assuming you're not no longer together. No, oh no no, no, no, no, no, okay, All right. So okay, I want to go back to your upbringing, and you said it was like a conservative lifestyle. And what was the reaction from your family and friends when you told them you know what I am leaving. I'm not, I'm not going to do you. You know the standard lifestyle you want me to do uh, did they think you're crazy. What you know, what was the, the feedback that you got?

Speaker 1:

I think luckily I mean on the kind of like luckily my family is pretty like feminist and like, very like want women to have careers and things like that, so there wasn't really pushback on that side.

Speaker 1:

There was a lot of support on that side when it comes to like moving abroad and how many times I switched careers and period and like I mean I have like big gaps in my resume where I just didn't relance or whatever and there was definitely like that you're making terrible choices, um, and but I think also my family. I started traveling when I was 16. Um, my grandmother was basically like I will pay half. If you can raise half the money, I will pay the other half for you to live in Paris with the host family and and study French for a month. So, like my, I was very much encouraged to travel abroad because she had lived abroad. And so when I was just kind of like I'm doing these things, my family was like Kristen just always does her own thing, it's just like this is her character.

Speaker 1:

So they were just kind of like we think this is a terrible idea, but like you seem to just figure things out, and so I think the book goes into. Like that sounds really easy and like figuring things out is not easy, um, but I wouldn't regret anything that I did. I definitely like gave myself a difficult path, but I think it made me a better person and I had a fabulous time doing it, if that makes sense yeah, so you're.

Speaker 2:

You're currently in LA pursuing comedy.

Speaker 1:

Right and yeah so I'm like I write in a comedic style, so my main focus right now is writing um, but I'm also an actor and and yeah, so that's kind of like my specialty. I do improv and stuff like that.

Speaker 2:

Oh fun. So if somebody asks you and I always ask this question and if you're not comfortable responding, that's fine. How sustainable is this lifestyle? And the reason is I'm asking because you know that's, I think, the first question that comes to people's mind and some might not feel comfortable asking it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, I'm a journalist, so I get to ask uncomfortable questions oh yeah, I mean I make more money than I ever thought I could my. So I run my own copywriting business and then then so I work on that and then that's basically like part of my day and the other part is doing comedy. So, like I make more money than I ever thought I could. I could have a family if I wanted to. I don't feel emotionally and like financially I want to make sure I have way more than, like you know, I want to. I'm not ready to have kids, basically, but, um, like I can afford to have a nice lifestyle and the choices that I made in my twenties are not things that have, um prevent like I'm making as much as, if not more than, a lot of my peers who work full time for companies. So you know, I think we hear a lot about freelancers struggling, because that's the truth. Like it is an extremely difficult to run your own business. Like I'm not downplaying that, but there is financial opportunity, there is financial freedom, there are things that you can get out of it that I don't think, because I took my 20s exploring like it's not like I sat on my hands or didn't learn anything. I came up with like extremely unique skills through that experience that allow me to like, sell those skills Like I am an extremely skilled worker, even though I didn't do the path. And my views on that is like if you're selling a service or product or what is it like there are, you have to have a unique selling proposition. It has to be like you have to have unique skills that other people don't have, and I don't see unique skills. It is significantly harder to compete in a professional market If you have the exact same skills that everyone else like.

Speaker 1:

I talked to a lot of writers, for example, let's say, in LA I live in LA right, a lot of my friends are screenwriters. They're all like oh, if I want to become a screenwriter, I need to work as a personal assistant and then a writer's assistant and join the writer's room and like, and a lot of them. This is just as an example. We'll be like oh well, since I've only lived in LA and worked in entertainment, I'll write about the entertainment industry. Well, guess how many scripts execs get about the entertainment industry? That is significantly more difficult of a ladder to climb when there are lots of other people, because you better have the best and it's really hard for you to stand out.

Speaker 1:

Well, if you like, because of my career, I traveled all over the world. I did all these different things. Like I have a unique set of like experiences. That means that no one has the same unique experiences, or, if they do, like I'd love to meet them.

Speaker 1:

But I think, as you make your own um and there's a book too. As I mentioned, I have a second book coming out with my publisher that's more on the how to of this but as you make your own path, you create your own unique selling proposition, which is your new unique way of positioning yourself in the market, and that makes you extremely skilled in that specific thing. And it's significantly better to be skilled in a very specific thing than to be skilled in a very generic thing, because there's so many other people who will be skilled in the generic. So I think living your own path can really set you up for your own success. That is like the success that you want and like the internet has made it even easier to do that, because it's easier to connect with people who need that very unique niche skill.

Speaker 2:

True. So is that the secret to your success? So if I like come and ask you how did you make it? How, like you're basically living a life on your own terms, financially and plus the lifestyle. So what? What is your secret? If you know, if you want to come and tell me yeah, what should I do?

Speaker 1:

um, I think the secret is to like, definitely understand, like what are the things that you're very unique at, and so like for me. I started my career in branding and so I moved to China. I didn't have a job, I didn't have a place to live, I was on a tourist visa Don't tell the Chinese government that. So I moved there with like nothing, nothing set up. I knew three people, and so I I. But luckily, like I knew I had this marketing background and I met the marketing director for a wine, the largest wine importer in China, and so she needed someone who, like, could lead, was like fluent in English and could liaison with foreign wine companies, english speaking wine companies. She needed someone who understood the wine industry, which I was like.

Speaker 1:

I've never worked in wine, but my senior thesis in college was on the economics of wine and like what imports. So I knew, like I mean, it was a research, it was my senior thesis, but that does not make me an expert in the wine industry in any means. Okay, I was like, hey, I have this branding background, I did. Oh, excuse me, I have this, I have the background where I can liaison with your partners. I speak English, I understand their culture. You know, I, um, I understand wine at a degree higher than the average person, but not by much.

Speaker 1:

And then I have a marketing background and so, because I had those three things, she was like, oh, like she's not. You know, I'm not a senior person, but we can train her. And so, I think, having being able to articulate like what are the unique things that you have and like how does that position you? Because if I went to her and was like oh, I do marketing and like I mean I drank wine before I like you know, I like having a good time, Like that's not actually explaining enough to like articulate. Hey, like I could actually be good at this. So I think a lot of like career transitions and also selling a service or product online is understanding what is unique about your background. And if you, if everyone's, they didn't use that, great, if everyone's zigged and you zagged, great, like why was that being good? Like what were the things you learned from zagging? That you can then articulate to someone who might want to pay for your good or service.

Speaker 2:

Okay, cool. So how did you move from that to publishing and what was your publishing journey? And this is your, your first book, right? So, and let me see, yeah, and who's your publisher? Let me see here. Um, the publisher is I can't see the name.

Speaker 1:

Who's your publisher? Rising action publishing there and in the press.

Speaker 2:

Okay, so did you need an agent for for that? Yeah, so, basically. So how did that happen? Because it's really hard to get an an agent? Oh yeah, and it's distributed by blackstone publishing, okay so let's, let's hear about it, yeah, so um.

Speaker 1:

Before, during covid, I took a memoir writing class um with Margo Lightman highly recommend her to anyone who's interested in writing memoir Um and so I worked on the proposal and so, basically, nonfiction does not sell on a full manuscript, it sells on a proposal, and the proposal is kind of like a marketing pitch plus some sample chapters so they can hear your voice. And well, the whole thing should be written in your voice, but like so they can see kind of what you're writing, your writing style. So I made a proposal and then I cold emailed over 150 agents just like cold emails and luckily my amazing agent, mariah, liked it. She liked my voice and was like I want to represent you, so did a call and signed with yeah. So then this was in October 2020. And then so she went out to agents, or she went out to publishers around November and for a year and a half no one wanted it and most of a lot of the rejections were like you don't have enough of a social following, which is extremely important, more so in nonfiction than fiction. Another one was no one's reading travel right now. It's's COVID, which seemed really nearsighted to me because I mean, we didn't know if COVID wasn't going to last forever, but I have. I think it's safe to like assume that people are going to travel again and book publishing takes two years. And again, this was in 2020 and now it's coming out in 2024, when this is supposed to be like one of the biggest travel years, exactly, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So then I was like having a breakdown, being like what is happening? Like am I a writer? Like no one wants this, like I really want to sell it. Like I, this is like my memoir, this is so important to me. And luckily, my agent kept pitching it like she just was hustling. So then she emailed me and was like hey, alex at rising action would be interested in, um, in purchasing your book. And I was I'm going to do a call with her. I'm like, okay, cool, great, great, okay, um. And then she was like hey, did a call with her. She loves your voice, she actually wants to, wants to purchase both of your books, cause I have two. I had two proposals going out and so, luckily, sold the books and then since then, have been writing it. So yeah it.

Speaker 1:

I would say like getting an agent and everything. And I would say like when, about six years ago, I tried to. I wrote a non-fiction book proposal and that one never sold. Like same thing. Emailed a bunch of agents. No one was interested.

Speaker 1:

So but when I look at the difference between the two books, like I made the second book so much better and so, like my advice to people is, like it really is about the quality of writing, and that's I hate, like it's like stabbing myself giving this advice. It's both a quality writing and about your, your reach or your audience. And I hate saying that. But now that I'm going into like the marketing process, you know part of what sells. That is me.

Speaker 1:

And if I didn't have like a network and things that I've done like the work I've done on social and like you know we met on social like if I didn't have relationships that I've been building, like I would be sitting on my hands right now and not actually helping sell my book. So I understand why they want that, but my advice would be don't want a platform for selling the book. Want a platform for yourself, like want it so that you have you can sell your book, not so that your publisher can sell your book, so that you can sell your book, because if you don't have anything to do like that, that I would go insane personally. I would be like what do I do? Like uh, you know what I mean, so yeah, so what?

Speaker 2:

what are your marketing efforts? What are you doing to push the book and where? What social platforms you feel have the highest ROI?

Speaker 1:

So I love Twitter and I know you love Twitter. That's how we met. So I find, like on Twitter it's really easy to kind of like get to know people and I think it's really important to like build genuine relationships. So I really focus on like you know, there are journalists and other and book critics and like if I really love their work, then I reached out to them and was like hey, can I send you a book? So I think that's like a great way is like connecting with people that like genuinely you enjoy the same things. So that's one way I did it.

Speaker 1:

My social media, like I post kind of comedic stuff and so I get followers through that and so with them they're really engaged. They already know my comedy. So when they buy the book they're not like surprised by it. Like some people are like you use too many vulgar words or like I've been reading some of the nut galley reviews and they're like um, there's like a chapter on finding out I had HPV and and someone was concerned because I didn't use the word vagina. I used like meat curtains, like hairy clams, like I use like synonyms for the whole thing and like that's not everyone's flavor and that's totally fine, yeah, but I think, like people who already follow me on social like they know my comedy and so they're probably gonna enjoy it, so, selling to them, they're like, oh, I already like this, I already think some of the things she says are funny. It's my sense of humor, so it's easier to kind of like sell that way. So I think, like making, like making genuine relationships with people online, which you can do from anywhere, you don't need to be in LA or New York or wherever. And then also like putting out content.

Speaker 1:

And there are a lot of people who I don't think, if you're an author, like there are other ways that you can sell to like, at least with nonfiction. Like I don't think, if you're an author, like there are other ways that you consult to like at least with nonfiction. Like I don't think you need to be a book talk person. I'm sure being a book talk person helps, but if you can make videos on other things in your life, like, you can still you know that's still platform, they still know you and they enjoy your content. So you could be an expert on something else. Maybe not building a tunnel under your house. That's unpermitted, which is the current thing going viral, like maybe avoid like doing illegal things and recording yourself doing it, but maybe she'll come out with a like a romance novel where two people meet in a tunnel. I don't know, um, I think. I think, like you know, make being like oh, I want to be an author and therefore I can only make book related content.

Speaker 2:

I don't think that's true okay, do you do video content?

Speaker 1:

yeah, I do a lot of video because I'm a performer as well, which I know a lot of authors aren't as comfortable with video. So, like I think that for that, like choosing the platform that matches your skill, what do you use, tiktok?

Speaker 2:

or where do you put your?

Speaker 1:

video I put mainly on TikTok and Instagram.

Speaker 2:

I post on Twitter, but like.

Speaker 1:

Twitter. It doesn't perform well because Twitter is a video platform, so I'm like here it is, but most people don't see it.

Speaker 2:

I noticed that videos just don't do well at all. I mean, for me, tiktok is still the best TikTok, and Instagram for short videos and YouTube as well, but YouTube is different audience. What was the people's reaction?

Speaker 1:

on. I've had a couple go viral that people have really liked yeah and I and then there's others that don't perform well. But this is one of those things that again like I want to stab myself saying it um, but because it's just like oh, but really it's about posting consistently and like not every video is going to be great, but if you have one that's good, like you'll get followers out of it. So it's really like I hate saying it, but same with writing. It's like putting in the work and having like, yeah, perfecting what you're writing. Same with like editing right, like getting feedback. Okay, what's the feedback from your social channel? Why did people like this video? What lines did they really like? What content did they really like? Same with like writing a book what did the editor really like? What content did they not like? Like should I keep that in or do I have to like kill my babies, excuse me, kill my darlings not your babies yeah, um, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So I think that's something like it sucks, because it's just I hate giving advice. It's like do a lot of work, um, but it's do a lot of work and learn from the work you've already done so that the next work you do is smarter so you so you're working on another book now and you already signed with the publisher.

Speaker 1:

Yes, so it's the same publisher and so the second book is on we're still like finalizing the title, but the second book is on basically turning your side hustle into your main hustle and learning how to sell things online, whether that's a product or service. So I run my own copywriting business and I help a lot of small businesses and startups and some larger corporations sell things online, and so this book is the technical skills of content, marketing, social, all of those components, but then also kind of like oh it's, it's a little bit business memory, because it's about, like, my emotional journey and things that I tried, like I try to be pretty honest with when I've failed, because I think I rather listen to someone who has like gone through similar things than listen to someone who like is a guru and like hasn't been honest about those things. And because of the internet, there is a much larger opportunity for people to create small businesses because they can connect with their specific niche online. So that could be selling sweaters made of cat hair, right, it could be like unicorn poop, bath bombs, like whatever it is like there is a mark like I follow a guy who he makes ashtrays that just are like acrylic clear acrylic with like little baby dolls in them and I'm like I'm not sure I'm ready to buy this, but this is fabulous. Like I'm so happy that someone is just making like little baby ashtrays.

Speaker 1:

But there is an opportunity thanks to the internet, to like really connect with your niche, which means that there is a more profitable market to make unique things than there was in the past. Right in the past, like you had to either go into your neighborhood and like be at like a farmer's market being like would you like my like acrylic baby ashtray? Or like pay for a huge ad on TV. But now you can do, you can have. I found him through TikTok. You can make TikToks being like. Why did I make this? I don't know, but I just needed little plastic babies in an acrylic ashtray and like people will be like oh my god, I need that too. So I think the internet has like created opportunities in the market and I want to make those.

Speaker 1:

Second book is about like helping people find that specific spot where they can pay their bills. I'm not trying to make Jeff Bezos. This is not a book for Jeff Bezos. This is a book for someone who's like you know what? I don't want to work my corporate job anymore.

Speaker 1:

What is the thing that I can do that I actually love doing and I can pay my bills and be and live a good lifestyle? And it can be, like I said, it can be extremely profitable. Um, there was research done I'm lucky, I'm the person, but that a lot of. He interviewed a ton of millionaires and he found that the millionaires actually they created their own businesses after leaving their corporate jobs mid career. So it can be extremely profitable and I could see that and understand why that would happen, because they've established skills in a work environment and then they've taken those skills and created something unique in their own unique business. So to me, that is again going back to what's your unique selling position proposition, what's the unique thing that you can provide to the market. There's a lot more opportunity for that.

Speaker 2:

So you mentioned tailing. Are you comfortable sharing some of the examples?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So, and in my memoir I have kind of some of these stories I was renting out Airbnbs at one point. So I would work with a local Chinese landlord and rent an apartment and then I would have a designer come in and like design the apartment and then I would rent it out to people who are traveling on Airbnb. It was like one of the worst jobs I've ever had in my life, because everyone had different opinions of like what an Airbnb should provide, and this was earlier on in Airbnb. Okay, I didn't have like a like you have to clean it and pay for cleaning fee. No, I was like you don't have to clean it, I have a clean. Like you pay to clean, you feed they clean it. But it was like just like.

Speaker 1:

Some people were like oh, you need to provide slippers. One person was like hey, I can't get on Facebook, the internet's not working and I'm like you're in China. Like China, it's bad. I can't help you with that. I can't put in a good word with like the Chinese government, like yo, can you make an exception? Like I can't do that, and it was like around the clock, so like for me. I was like oh, airbnb is great because I love travel. I it's financial freedom. I can work when I want, I can go and do stand up at night, I don't have to worry about anything. No, around the clock. It'd be like, hey, the power went out on this block, like I have no power in my house, and then I have to figure out, like why don't they have power? Isn't the house, is it? In that case, it was that the entire block had power out and they were like very upset at me. I'm like the hospital on the corner also doesn't have power. So like I, like I want to help you, but I this is out of my control.

Speaker 1:

So there were a lot of situations like that and also like so, like even at an end I opened too many at once. So I had like a bunch that were really profitable in the summer, but I opened them during the peak season. So then during the slow season I didn't lose money, but I wasn't like make. I was like kind of breaking even, like some lost money and some gained money. So it was like a weird situation but I give that as an example where like, okay, maybe I should have opened a little bit slower and a lot more people came into the market, and when we talk about unique selling proposition, like a unique thing that I offered was that I had like a whole huge guide of like all my favorite restaurants, bars, whatever since I lived there, so that anyone who came could like find exactly what they were looking for. But that wasn't enough, because a ton of other people in the market were also doing Airbnbs, and so I didn't have a unique thing. Like I had a designer helping me make them look beautiful, but I wasn't like a designer myself, and so I think that that also is like another example of like I wasn't in a unique situation where I was better at doing this job than other people.

Speaker 1:

And across the US, if you look at a Airbnb numbers right now, there are a lot of issues where people came in when you know things were. There was more opportunity, and right now there's oversupply. So while there's an increase in demand as more people are traveling, there are too many Airbnbs out there, and so a lot of people are actually like not, they're underwater, they're not making money right now because of that. And then also there's the you know things like like I was at an Airbnb and they I was up at 6 am to get all the sheets cleaned.

Speaker 1:

Before we had to check out at 10. They were like they need to be dried by the time you leave. I'm like washing and drying that's like. That's like at least two hours and I'm like they're like the ice machine needs to be set. Like I was literally up at 6am cleaning and I'm like I'm paying you like 250 dollars to clean the place and I'm up at 6am cleaning it. Like there's. I understand why, like people are also frustrated. You know what I mean. Like it's not. It's like I understand why people renting on Airbnb are frustrated and I understand why people who are finding places on Airbnb are frustrated. So, anyway, like that's just one example.

Speaker 2:

That was yes, that's it, and you mentioned that in the book, right? Yeah, I talk about it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I have a chapter on being in Shanghai and finding out that Trump was going to be president and while at like the brunch where everyone's it's kind of like you know the votes are rolling in, having a toilet break in one of my apartments and having to like clean up a tsunami of poo, like wow, our country is going down the drain and drain and this is traumatizing. All is happening at the same time and being like great. I can't get this out of my head. And also, what does this mean for my people and my country?

Speaker 2:

So I want to ask you actually about the title. This is like a genius title, word to Nest. Did you come up with it or was it like a publisher agent? Uh, it's, uh, I really love.

Speaker 1:

I think in my writing class that's where we kind of came up with it.

Speaker 1:

It's a play on my last name, van nest yeah yeah, and I really think the theme of the book I mean, I'd say, when I was pitching the book in my proposal, one another like criticism was like hey, it doesn't have enough of like an overarching arc, it's more like essays, and so I would advise everyone to have a very clear overarching arc. I would not use the end book as an example of that. I made the arc stronger, but it is still like it is. You know, a travelogue with like it takes place in different countries, so, but I think the book's really about searching for belonging and so, like it's about like where is the final place that you want to nest? And like, again, that's never final, but like where is the place that really feels good to you?

Speaker 1:

And so for me, like traveling, I learned about like like there's a chapter on having HPV, and like learning about health care when I was in China and being like OK, this was very traumatizing. You know what does your government do for you? There's a chapter on seeing the different Occupy Wall Street sites all over Europe and then going to Utrecht in the Netherlands and seeing that the government had actually provided tents. So there's people sleeping in tents protesting their government, and the government gave the military tents to sleep in so that they would be could stay warm in the winter, and it's like okay, like what do you expect from your government?

Speaker 1:

Because all the other countries I went to you know the Occupy Wall Street movement was like their own people, providing their own tents, and so I was like, wow, like this government is showing that, even if you don't like the government of power, like they're helping you, and that was like a very different thing to see. And so I think belonging is like what are those little pieces? And like when we talk about, like feminism, stuff like that, like LA is very progressive. So, like, I think, a lot of the values that are important to me I can experience here, more so than, say, the hometown that I grew up in, which is why, like, I choose to live here, part of the reason I choose to live here, like I choose to live here, Part of the reason I choose to live here.

Speaker 2:

So, before we conclude, what kind of advice would you give to writers who don't want to be in a corporate job or to work in a, let's say, one newspaper or one publication and they just want to do like you and me do? Like you know, we run our own writing businesses or, you know, marketing business. What would you tell them?

Speaker 1:

Number one do not just quit your job. Don't do that. I think like starting your own business and creating your own like revenue stream stream is going to take a couple years. I don't care what anyone says on TikTok, where they're like oh I bought an ATM machine and now I'm a millionaire. I'm not going to buy that. If that is true which I'm questioning that's like a unicorn. That's not a normal thing. It usually takes a couple years for you to really build your business, and so I would keep your current income while you're doing that.

Speaker 1:

But think about where you put your energy. And my view on like building a new business is kind of like learning a new skill. You have to think about the smartest way to learn the skill, but it also takes time to learn the skill. So with the business, you have to. If you make smarter decisions, you will grow faster. But also, if you're a writer, becoming better at writing will help you grow faster. So, like if you're doing freelance, I think how I kind of like grew my business is like I, when I didn't have a portfolio, I worked for free, which I don't always advise people to do that.

Speaker 1:

I don't think you should be working for free long term and I get really frustrated that there is a market for free work like that just angers me. But I, just as an example, I started doing things for free and then, once I had a portfolio, I charged a higher price, not a big price, a low price. But I could be like, hey, I have examples of my work. And then once I had enough clients there that I could support myself, to the next person who wanted to work with me, I offered them a higher price Because now I'm a more experienced writer and more uh portfolio, and so I slowly raised my prices that way and until the point that I could afford to do it on my own. Um, so I would never advise people to quit their job. Uh, cold Turkey, because you need to factor in that this stuff takes time and I would advise that you know. Keep your paycheck so you have that stability. But do you need to work to complete the tasks that are assigned to you? Do you need to work nine to?

Speaker 2:

five.

Speaker 1:

Tim Ferriss talks a lot about one of his books, but for me, I was working at a job and I realized I can do the work that they want me to do in like two hours a day, like, if let's say, like the emails and the and the management and the writing, I can finish it. I mean, I work really fast. But working really fast comes with experience, right, and so do you. I didn't have to spend nine to five completing my work and I wasn't an underperformer. I was just like what are the actual things that matter? And like the other stuff I'm not going to do. So I think really about, like cherishing your time and thinking about how you spend your time is essential, but I don't like when people are like you have to also make the emotional commitment that like I want to leave my job, I'm not going to prioritize my job every day, because if you prioritize your job every day, you're going to be like I'm tired, I can't do this other thing.

Speaker 1:

But if you're like, I'm going to do this other thing, let's say two hours a day in the morning, or I'm going to do one hour before work, one hour after work, whatever works for you, you are becoming better at it and building the skill. You're you're excuse me, that's saying the same thing twice becoming better at it and like progressing, and so that's like, really, and for me, like with my books, I've been in accountability group for three years now and I've written, I've sold two books and written a book and written two books during that period. And that's just because, like, I signed on every day and wrote yeah, yeah, which again is extremely difficult. Being like, oh, like, I have responsibilities and a job and I'm prioritizing this other thing. That's kind of a dream of mine, but if you want that dream to be real, you have to put time to it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah so how do people find you, get in touch with you and find your book?

Speaker 1:

yeah, so, um, best is on social twitter, tiktok or instagram at kristin van nest just my name and if anyone has any questions or anything like no-transcript, absolutely reach out to me. Um, and follow me on social for both updates on my book and sometimes I post some writing advice. You also post amazing writing advice all the time and I'm like, yes, like I learned from you and I'm like, oh, that's so smart, so they should follow you too for writing advice.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, appreciate it. So thank you so much for joining us today, kristen, and for anyone who is listening or watching, thank you for spending an hour with us and don't forget to check out Kristen's book Word to Nest, which is coming out in April. Correct? And thank you for staying with us today and until we meet again, thank you. Thank you for tuning in to Read and Write with Natasha. I'm your host, natasha Times. If today's episode inspired you in any way, please take the time to review the podcast. Remember to subscribe and share this podcast with fellow book lovers. Until next time, happy reading, happy writing.

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Secrets of Building a Successful Career
Memoir Writing and Book Marketing
Challenges of Renting on Airbnb
Advice for Writers Building Business