AJC book festival business authors see better times

The AJC Decatur Book Festival is offering a business session with business book authors speaking and signing copies on subjects including entrepreneurship, leadership, unemployment and freelancing.

They took time to talk about the state of the economy, and their books.

Q: We are in uncertain financial times. Why should we be hopeful?

Gail Margolies Reid (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Low-Cost Startups): More than any time in our economic history it is possible to create value and build a customer base without risking a lot of money up front. The barriers to entry for a hopeful entrepreneur are lower than they have ever been before.

E. Jean Alexander (Displaced/The Loss of a Job): Many of us are going to have to rely on our natural skills to fuel the financial pocket for our families. This will not only give us hope, but it will also teach our children that they will have to hone in on those skills that they process naturally to make a living in the future.

Joyce Bone (Millionaire Moms/The Art of Raising a Business and a Family at the Same Time): We are still the land of opportunity. It is up to each of us to maximize our resources and our lives. It's about being proactive rather than reactive to our circumstances. Action alleviates fear.

Alan Deutschman (Walk the Walk: The #1 Rule for Real Leaders): Real leaders have a knack for emerging from obscurity and bringing about changes that few people would have thought possible.

Ed Gandia (The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle): Organizations still need to get the work done, but they've cut full-time staff to the bone. So they're turning to freelancers and consultants to complete key projects. Solo professionals who know how to position themselves effectively, and how to profitably run and grow a business of one, stand to win big in this new "gig" economy, all while having more freedom, fun and flexibility than ever before.

Denise Kiernan (co-author of The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-timers and the Self-Employed: The Only Personal Finance System for People with Not-So-Regular Jobs): Never before has it been easier to strike out on your own. The independent work force is the future of the American economy. There are online groups for small businesses, apps for charging credit cards, virtual storefronts and increasing retirement and health care options for anyone who ever wanted to depend on themselves and their individual skills for a living."

Q: What motivated you to write about your topic?

Ed Gandia: We wanted to show both new and seasoned solo professionals that, even in this economy, they can consistently get the clients, projects, income and quality of life they want. It doesn't have to be a trade-off.

E. Jean Alexander: I lost my first job through downsizing. To think that after more than 20 years with the company -- the emotional impact was, to say the least, unnerving... I wanted to shed some light and perhaps provide some help for others who have lost their job or had a reduction in pay.

Joyce Bone: Life has a way of weighing us down over time. Women, especially, think once they have kids it's "game over." I interviewed 100 millionaire moms for the book and the only common denominator was they all became successful after having children.

Joseph D'Agnese (co-author of The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-timers and the Self-Employed): People aren't motivated by money to start freelancing, but they quit because of the money. The biggest challenge these people face is not always making money. It's managing the money that comes in.

Alan Deutschman: After spending two decades as a journalist reporting on aspiring leaders who largely failed to "walk the walk," I wanted to find the most compelling stories about the real leaders who actually did it right.

Gail Margolies Reid: I wanted ... to give people a solid foundation for replacing a lost job with a business venture of their own. The more expertise that a new entrepreneur incorporates into a business plan the more likely he is to succeed.

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