Q1: Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

Ans: Times 10 Publications publishes professional learning books that provide practical solutions that busy educators can read today and use tomorrow. Our corporate office is in Highland HeiHeights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Times 10 is known around the world for its bestselling Hack Learning Series, a trademarked brand that includes a unique chapter template that no other publisher in the world offers. Times 10 sells books primarily through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, libraries, and bulk sales to schools around the world, via direct order at our website, 10publications.com. Our production team and authors work remotely from many locations in the US.

Q2:Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

Ans:I am the Founder and President at Times 10 Publications. A longtime educator, I have written six books for teachers and school leaders, including Hacking Education, the first book Times 10 published, in 2015. I left the classroom in 2013, to pursue an entrepreneurial path in the education profession, which included presenting internationally before launching Times 10 Publications in 2014.

Q3: What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?

Ans: I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. After 23 years of teaching, I wanted to start a company that would leverage all the knowledge I acquired in decades of work in the K-12 world and as an adjunct instructor at two Ohio colleges. After writing many books and consulting with educators around the world, I decided I could reach a broader audience with books, written by people like me—classroom teachers and school leaders, who aspire to create better learning opportunities for kids.

Q4: What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Ans:1)Be a lifelong learner. You can never know enough about the business you’re in. Seek experienced people and learn everything you can from them.

2)Build a team of passionate people, who believe in your mission. We have a small team of editors, designers, and managers, whom I’ve grown to trust over the years. We have a shared vision to improve education on a global scale.

3)Be more concerned with building something impactful than you are about making money. If your products and services help people, the money will take care of itself.

Q5: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans: 1)Listening. You must listen to your team and to your audience. They help you decide your direction.

2) Communication. Listening is part of this; after listening, though, you need to know how to respond. This is, arguably, the most important thing in business, and many owners and CEOs are not good at it.

3)Patience. While I’m not sure this qualifies as a skill, it’s a key to success in business, especially in the startup world. You will fail many times. You have to learn from every failure and move forward. If you have a good product, a reliable team, and a solid plan, success will come. Impatient people give up too soon.

Q6: How many hours do you work a day on average?

Ans: The first three years, I worked 10- to 12-hour days, seven days a week. As Times 10 Publications grew, and we published many successful books, I was able to hire more people. The next few years, I cut back to 6- to 8-hour days. Now, I work about four hours daily, relying on my team to do most of the heavy lifting.

Q7: To what do you most attribute your success?

Ans: Surrounding myself with amazing people. I believe we have the best authors in the education profession—all dedicated to our mission. I have a team that I trust and a company leader I know gets the work done, without needing much help from me.

Q8: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Ans: 1) Word of mouth marketing is still the best, even in the digital world. Our authors spend a lot of time in the field, presenting on their topics. This puts books in people’s hands. When readers talk about the authors and their books, more people buy the books.

2) We also publish books in unique series. Many of our readers love the format of our Hack Learning Series and Lead Forward Series. So, when they read one book, they want to read more, because they know that our books will help them solve problems.

Q9:Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

Ans:The company was bootstrapped. I covered all costs the first 18 months, until we started generating a profit. We kept costs low then, and I did a lot of the work myself.

Q10: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans: 1)Long-term success in the education book publishing industry comes from listening to teachers and school leaders and understanding the problems that need solving. Then, you must find the right people to write the books. This takes a lot of reading, research, and surveying your audience.

2) Long-term success in any business begins with having the right mission, followed by surrounding yourself with the people to help carry out the mission. Create a viable plan and stick to it.

Q11: Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans: While we are built for long-term sustainability, I try not to look too far ahead. We can’t plan our products and services for five years from now, because education is fluid, and new problems crop up regularly. We need to continue to read, research, and listen to teachers and leaders. This open line of communication drives our content. Personally, I hope to be moving into the third chapter of life in five to ten years, enjoying time with my family.

Q12: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans: I’m a fan of several big tech companies: Apple, Amazon, and Netflix, to name a few. These companies were started by visionaries who saw a space that needed disruption and innovation. Their founders took on challenges that others were afraid of or didn’t understand. These companies have changed the world.

Q13: How important have good employees been to your success?

Ans: Our team is the backbone of Times 10 Publications. Without these mission-minded, creative, and professional people, we probably would not exist.

Q14: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

Ans: It really depends on what the idea is. If it’s something I think will create a much-needed disruption, and it requires a lot of time and energy to create, I’ll stick with it indefinitely—hopefully, until it comes to fruition. I have a lot of ideas that are just part of brainstorming. Something like creating a membership platform or a completely different product might be discussed a few times then discarded.

Q15: What motivates you?

Ans: Making an impact on society motivates me. Every single day, I ask myself, What should Times 10 Publications be doing to improve teaching and learning and, ultimately, to help kids around the world? The answer to this is what drives me.

Q16: How do you generate new ideas?

Ans: I spend a lot of time reading articles and conversations on social media about the problems that teachers and leaders are having. This research provides endless ideas for the content Times 10 creates.

Q17: How do you define success?

Ans: When a teacher or school leader says one of our books helped them improve what they do in their space, I know we’ve succeeded.

Q18: How do you build a successful customer base?

Ans: There are two keys to maintaining loyal readers: 1—publish impactful books. When an educator reads a Times 10 book, and it impacts what they do, they want to read more, because they believe in us. 2—stay in touch with readers. We’ve built a substantial audience, and we connect with them daily on social media channels and via email. This keeps us relevant.

Q19:What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Ans: I love knowing I’ve built something out of nothing and that what I’ve built impacts millions of people around the world—especially kids.

Q20:What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Ans: The first time someone emailed me asking to write a book for Times 10 Publications. I knew we were a legitimate company, and I felt honored that someone would come to Times 10, rather than any of the legacy publishers that have been around for decades.

Q21: What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Ans: Freedom. Entrepreneurs answer to no one. They make all the important company decisions. They don’t have to punch a clock. Even though it can be scary, it’s a great feeling to be your own boss.

Q22: What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

Ans: The culture at Times 10 Publications is one of creativity, fun, and satisfaction. People are happy to be part of Times 10. They enjoy the work and feel a sense of accomplishment. To establish this tone, I gave everyone a voice, and I constantly emphasized the mission and the importance of the work.

Q23: In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.

Ans: Exciting.

Q24: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Ans: I would start sooner. I was not focused enough in college and didn’t decide a career path until later. I feel like I wasted a lot of time.

Q25: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

Ans: In the beginning, it was hard, because I worked a lot and missed time with my kids. Then it became a blessing, because I was able to spend more time with them and to provide a better life. Plus, I think they all are proud of something we all take ownership in.

Q26: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

Ans: My greatest fear is that my children will face challenges that they can’t manage. I overcome this fear by teaching them as much as I can about problem-solving.

Q27: How did you decide on the location for your business?

Ans: I work from a home office. We don’t have the need for a brick-and-mortar location, as we do not warehouse books.

Q28: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

Ans: Depending on the business, there are probably different patterns or formulas for success. I believe the one formula that all businesses need is the right mission and great people who are dedicated to that mission.

Q29: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

Ans: Muhammad Ali. He went through many challenges and changes in his life and impacted people all over the world. I’d love to pick his brain and listen to his stories.

Q30: Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Ans: My father. He has a sixth-grade education, married and left home at 18, moved to another state, and started with nothing. He taught himself various trades, worked numerous jobs, and had five kids. He woke at 4:30AM daily, worked late most nights, and almost never missed a day of work. He kept our household going. He taught me all the lessons that made me successful. He taught me how to be a loving husband, a dedicated father, and a good citizen. And these are the most important lessons of all.

Q31: What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)

Ans: Becoming, by Michelle Obama. It’s beautifully written and makes sense of so many things I didn’t understand. She’s an amazing woman, and I love her story.

Q32: What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?

Ans: Being impatient with my wife and kids. It took me too long to appreciate their mistakes and understand that helping them learn from them is my most important role. In business, the biggest mistake for Times 10 Publications is taking on the wrong projects. Sometimes, I believe in something for the wrong reasons. This is a tough issue to overcome and not always a bad thing.

Q33: How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?

Ans: The best way to prevent mistakes is to plan ahead and listen to the people around you. It’s important to ask, What could go wrong, and will we be able to overcome it? If we can’t figure that out, we must move in another direction.

Q34: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

Ans: I love to read, play golf, and spend time with family and friends.

Q35: What makes you happy?

Ans: When my wife and kids are happy, I’m happy.

Q36: What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans: I’ve had to give up time with my family—the biggest sacrifice by far.

Q37: If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?

Ans:1) How does your business impact the world?

2)My answer: We help educators be their best. This improves the lives of kids. What could be better than that?

Company Detail:

Company : Times 10 Publications

Address : 322 West Legend Court Unit B

City : Highland Heights

State : OH

Country: United States

Zip : 44143

Email : mark@10publications.com