Meet Danikka Taylor. Talented self-published team of writers

Introducing Danikka: Writer, editor, publishing mentor and Verve member

by Verve

Reading incredible stories written by talented self-published authors isn’t the only perk of Danikka Taylor’s job. At Taylor Made Publishing, no two days are the same. Danikka teams up with writers and wordsmiths to offer developmental editing, publishing mentoring and everything in between. Along the way, she’s worked with sci-fi writers, business coaches, birth doulas and more.

Breaking into the publishing industry as a self-published author can be tough. But Danikka is committed to supporting emerging writers to find their voice, whip their manuscripts into shape and get their words on shelves. 

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Danikka to find out what it’s like to start a business with your partner, how her parent’s approach to money has influenced her own and her money wisdom for other Verve members.

The journey to founding Taylor Made Publishing 

“I originally went into business with my husband and the focus was on social media and providing different freelancing services. Soon after we began, my husband stepped down and I pivoted to my first love, which was publishing and editing. 

My main focus is working with self-published authors who want to publish their work through Amazon or a service like IngramSpark. I edit on a story and grammar level, and then refer writers to people who will help format the book and design the cover. 

When I first started, I was attracting a lot of clients from the US.  But then I met one author in Melbourne… [who has this] really great talent for connecting with other Australian authors. She finds someone on Instagram and brings everyone together. Through her, I’ve grown my Australian author base. I actually work with more Australian authors now than I do with US authors.” 

Diving into Danikka’s money story

“I’ve done so many different jobs so my money story is all over the place. One thing I do remember a lot from my childhood was my parents were always buying us things. We never celebrated birthdays or Christmas but we always had presents. 

I was always aware there wasn’t enough money, so there was this cognitive dissonance where we were always getting all these things but it didn’t add up. 

As I got older I found out it was because they were using credit cards so there was always debt and fears about us losing our home. We could have everything we wanted except for financial security. That was the kind of message I carried from then on.

I remember when I saved my first $10,000 I used it to travel overseas and didn’t work for two years. I worked as a Nanny for $100 a week and used my money for small trips here and there, but I never really knew what I could do with my money. 

I wasn’t prepared for money at all. When I finally arrived home I got my first-ever rental, I was paying my own bills and I wasn’t in touch with my family at the time so I retaught myself everything. I started small working part-time and realised I can control what happens with my money.

Now that I’m back in touch with my mum, I’ve noticed she’ll get money coming in but because she has spent so much on her credit card, it just gets taken straight away and put on the credit card. It’s like this vicious cycle. It’s made me really scared of debt.

I’ve always been cautious about getting a business loan or anything like that. I’m coming into my fourth year of business, starting from being a side hustle to going full-time to back to a side hustle again.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is if you can emotionally detach yourself from your money, and try not to become wrapped up in shame and blame, then it will come and go and you can see the patterns and then that’s how you’ll grow it eventually.” 

What does wealth mean to Danikka?

“It’s changed over time. When you first get into business, you hear you’re not going to be wealthy until you’re getting at least $10k a month. But then when you get to $10k a month, they’re talking about $20k months, and then they’re talking about your first million. 

I definitely fell into the trap at the start, because I felt there was never enough money.  It felt like those big numbers that were nothing like what I’d earned before were the only way to have enough. 

I was just not enjoying myself. I’d lost my passion for my business and it was something I went into it because I was passionate. I think when I separated wealth from just this arbitrary number, and actually thought about what I actually wanted in life and for me, I realised wealth is actually about time.

It means having the time for things like reading for pleasure, which is something I loved but really struggled with as I found all of the reading I was doing was for work. 

I want to be able to go outside and not be in front of the computer all the time. Being wealthy is a balanced life. Of course, you need to work, because you need money to live. But finding that balance can make you feel like you’re working to live instead of living to work. It’s kind of cliche, I suppose – but I believe cliches are grounded in truth.”

Danikka’s money goals for 2023

“My main money goal intertwines with my life goal and that is to really scale my business so that I’m no longer working for someone else.

I’ve gotten through that first year where it’s really hard and it’s just a matter of scaling it back up. 

I’m looking at starting an actual publishing house that’s focused on fantasy writing for Australian self-published authors. There’s just a lot that goes into it, and I’m wondering about debt and the investment required. 

I’m still working out a lot but my biggest goal for 2023 is to not be working in someone else’s business and working on my own again.”

Danikka’s dream dinner party guest

“If I could have dinner with any incredible woman it would have to be either Melanie Perkins (the founder of Canva) or Ronnie Khan (who founded OzHarvest).  

I think Melanie would be really cool because she’s very introverted and doesn’t do a lot of publicity. She actually shared the first pitch that she did for investors, called “changing the face of publishing” which is exactly what I’m trying to do, but with a different aspect of publishing. I feel like I would really connect with her.

With Ronnie, I would really love to meet her because she’s really inspiring and she’s had such a different upbringing being born in South Africa during Apartheid and then founding OzHarvest much later in life. I find her really inspiring.”

Why Danikka joined Verve

“I didn’t have any superannuation at the time because I had swapped jobs so often and I didn’t have any real attachment to one super fund. I wanted to sign up for something different. I discovered Verve, and I love how easy it was to sign up and get connected and learn how to make contributions. 

Knowing that there is a superannuation that is focused on ethical investing and that was for women is just so different to any other experience I’ve had with a superfund before. It was always really difficult: there was so much paperwork involved and I just didn’t understand what was happening. 

Verve just makes everything really easy. I love what they stand for and it was a no-brainer.”

And one piece of wisdom she’d share with the Verve community?

“It’s hard to narrow it down to one, but something I’ve noticed in the community is there are a lot of women in business. I feel like we have this tendency to hold ourselves to these immensely high standards. I think it’s really important to remind yourself of what you’ve achieved. 

Don’t compare yourself to others, and try not to beat yourself up all the time. It’s okay to just go down the middle and create your own definition of success.”

Are you a Verve Super member? We’d love to hear your story. Send us an email and let’s chat: hello@vervesuper.com.au.

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