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Inspirus Goes International: How I Run My Small Business While Abroad

How on Earth do I run my small business in America while living in Japan? Great question. If you find out, please let me know. Kidding! It really is a great question, though, and one I’ve asked myself every day since I got here. What does it look like to lead a team of five from the other side of the world?

A Black woman working at her desk with her iPhone and MacBook with "I'll Be Here", a children's picture book, lying on the desk

I am pretty stressed out by the thought of it, but I stand on what I know: God wants my family together in one place and He wants me to do Inspirus. If God wants both, I can trust He has a plan for it to work together for His glory and my good. I can relax a bit in knowing I do not have to have it all figured out to get started, go through the motions, and find what works.

His will, His way, and His path are so much better than the ones I create.

One of my biggest challenges is that my entire team is remote, and they are everywhere. My core team is in Europe and every time zone in America while I am in Japan. Imagine trying to coordinate that team Zoom meeting. Yep, that’s exactly why it doesn’t happen. My teacher team is just as difficult. They are in Israel, France, and America.

While I can avoid all-staff meetings, I have to meet with them. There’s a lot we can do through emails and voice notes, but not all of it. So, the world clock on my phone ends up looking like this:

And to top it off, I still have illustrators, my printer, and consultants to meet with. The time zone math really gets to me, and I have to be very disciplined with my schedule to make it all work well together. Oh yeah, I have to homeschool my kids somewhere in there, too. Whew!

The next challenge is a bit nerve-racking: I am launching a new book… from around the world. I was hoping to do a lot of in-person events with this book, truly be hands-on and get my book out there, but that’s physically not possible.

Trying to figure out what this book launch looks like has been tough. I decided to launch through Kickstarter. It’s essentially a presale to make sure people will buy it, that it’s profitable, and that I have to get good at selling books, not just writing them.

I’ll Be Here is probably the best book I’ve written to date. The illustrations are beautiful and captivating, and it’s everything I wanted in a timeless, diverse baby book. Now, it’s a matter of getting people to see that and want this book for their families.

"I'll Be Here" a diverse children's book that expresses a parent's love for their child
Tyler holding "I'll Be Here"! Pre-orders begin September 15th

I’m reaching a point where I can see the greatness Inspirus can achieve and that brews fear of failing. I am financially pouring so much into the company that’s becoming exhausting. I have to get to the point where Inspirus can sustain itself, and I think I’ll Be Here can help us do that.

Your preorder of I’ll Be Here is so much more than just adding a book to your collection. It’s supporting me as an independent author, pushing the vision of Inspirus, and helping more children to see themselves on the pages of their books.

There isn’t a pathway for this niche and no one who has gone before me to mentor me as I learn. I’ve had to figure it all out on my own as I go, and it has been very costly.

Running my team from Japan is just another step on this journey of figuring it out. I am grateful for a supportive family who encourages me on the hard days and a flexible team who loves Inspirus as much as I do. I don’t have it all figured out yet, but I am ready to learn.


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