Founder and CEO of Burning Soul Press Lauren Eckhardt started the company in 2020. The company “helps soul-driven writers with an empowering message to share become best-selling authors that inspire through social-impact missions—without sacrificing authenticity to their soul’s calling.”
At Burning Soul Press, Lauren Eckhardt and the team offer services such as “book coaching, courses, ghostwriting, publishing, marketing, and author services.” The company also works according to the “Soul Writer framework,” which “helps writers unveil the depths of their soul’s journey.”
With this framework, Burning Soul Press and Lauren Eckhardt helps writers craft stories according to their “soul-driven mission through the writing and publishing of their books to become entrepreneurial authors with a message to share.” The company wants authors to share their unique stories and voices, “transformative message, and soulful passion so they achieve true fulfillment through their life’s purpose.”
Lauren Eckhardt and the Burning Soul Press team provides “guidance, coaching, inspiration, motivation, support, and solutions to help people share their natural gifts and stories with the world.”
Burning Soul and Lauren Eckhardt are proud to walk writers “through every stage of their writing journey, from planning to publishing to marketing, and launching successful digital businesses that can reach people on a global scale.”
But what I didn’t realize until only recently, is that when you set out to achieve a dream, it’s only the door that you can see. Lauren Eckhardt, Burning Soul Press
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series Lauren! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Lauren Eckhardt: Absolutely. Since I was six years old, I knew I wanted to be an author. It took me about thirty years to find a “why” big enough to achieve it, though. The birth of my two boys, now 5 and almost 3, was it for me. I wanted them unafraid to dream big, and I wanted to prove to them that reaching those dreams is indeed possible, that they don’t have to settle for a socially-determined box they don’t fit in to “make it” in life. Up until that point, I had done everything by the book for a successful and proud life- Master’s degree, started my PhD, collected multiple certifications to position myself as an expert in my field, yearly promotions or a higher position every year, the next pay grade. It was the ultimate hamster wheel, an endless cycle. I was constantly doing more to prove that I was moving ahead, and it was exhausting. It wasn’t until after I quit that I realized there’s a big difference between being successful and being fulfilled. I vowed I would put more emphasis on being fulfilled from here on out.
So, despite the most chaotic period of my life, which was during a ten-month spell of postpartum depression, sleeping only two hours per night with an infant and potty-training toddler in tow, I finally made my six-year-old-self dreams happen. I published four novels within nine months and end up winning an award for one. But what I didn’t realize until only recently, is that when you set out to achieve a dream, it’s only the door that you can see. You think you know what’s to come, but you can never fully account for what else is behind that door- until you’re holding the key and unlock it, which is how I came to launch Burning Soul Press.
Jerome Knyszewski: What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Lauren Eckhardt: Once I became an author, other people asked for my help to write and publish their books. Every time I helped someone, my soul was lit on fire. In April 2020, I launched Burning Soul Press, a book coaching and publishing company, as a $20k-in-debt-one-woman show. Within mere months, we hit six figures and scaled to a full company with writing, marketing, publishing, and PR experts, helping the most amazing writers share their stories to empower and inspire others around the world. It’s been nine months of trial and error, tears and more, but the evolution has been beautiful. I couldn’t have dreamed this at six years old, but if I never went for that author dream in the first place — no matter how long it took to reach, I never would have been able to discover my soul’s purpose behind that door.
Your purpose is a part of you, a solid truth that can’t be discredited or dismissed.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Lauren Eckhardt: You know, it’s interesting how terrifying it is to step into our area of expertise and passion and share it with friends and family especially. I always knew I had the entrepreneurial spirit within so was constantly running side hobbies, sometimes MLMs, sometimes other pursuits. When I first started Burning Soul Press, I absolutely refused to share it with people who knew me for many months because I was scared of judgement from those who witnessed me launch multiple other endeavors in the past.
Every single thing I did before made me better prepared for being the CEO of this dream company. I wasted several months shying away from owning that truth. You won’t figure out what you’re supposed to do in this life until you actively try to figure it out — and fail along the way. I learned quickly that my affirmation had to come from within and not from anywhere else if I truly wanted to help people. So when things got hard, I reminded myself that I had finally stepped into my purpose in life. No one’s opinion changes that truth. A failure doesn’t change that truth. A hard day does not change that truth. Your purpose is a part of you, a solid truth that can’t be discredited or dismissed.
Jerome Knyszewski: So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Lauren Eckhardt: A true rollercoaster. Every CEO will have days or seasons that make them question the survival of their company. It’s so much easier to give up than to keep fighting if you’re too short-sighted. When I feel hopeless, I put my focus on the ripple effects- the continual impact of every single action we take and every author’s book that is put out into the world. My drive comes from the hope that every time one of our authors share their story with the world, someone else is encouraged to embrace their own vulnerability and truth and to share it, knowing it can help even more people. I like to believe that we are making the world better for my kids and their future kids.
I have been in love with books my entire life. I have spent my entire life listening to other people’s stories. Being in the position that I am now to help them write and publish their books so that more people can hear their message… that’s what drives me. My entire life has been preparing me for this. I can’t imagine doing anything else, and I feel absolutely honored to be a part of people’s journeys as they step into their greatness. Giving up is not an option for the sole reason that this is what I was meant to do.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Lauren Eckhardt: Perfection paralysis is real! I used to spend hours recording and re-recording videos for 20 minutes of footage in my courses. Then I’d try to piece it together, exhausted at 1:00 in the morning, not realizing that I didn’t edit the times I cursed because I stumbled over something and would have to restart again. So some of my early courses were jumbled messes with random curse words mixed in.
Now, I just roll, rambles and all, choosing my heart over perfection. Authenticity wins every single time. (Unless your target audience is filled with perfectionists, that is.)
Let loose. Be yourself. Laugh. Have fun. Lauren Eckhardt
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Being vulnerable and yourself is totally okay — if you plan to succeed.” Many of us have a very clear image in our mind of what being a CEO looks like, and we face imposter syndrome if we don’t feel like we’re matching it. For example, coming from a corporate world (especially human resources), I tend to think of compartmentalizing everything about who I am because it’s not appropriate for the work world. However, as a CEO to a digital business, when my kids crash a Zoom meeting or live interview, crying or in need of a diaper change, that doesn’t diminish my CEO status. It just means that I’m a CEO and a Mom and it’s important to own that and not divide it. I’m also soft spoken and not a shark, which ten years ago, I would have thought that wasn’t enough to be a CEO. However, I’m me and bring an ocean of passion about the stories and success of our authors, and that’s the heart of the company.
- Hire for heart and soul, not for the job. The majority of responsibilities can be taught to a person who is truly passionate about the mission and purpose of the company. Your company will evolve and change, just as most organizations do. Hiring for people (and not the job) allows you to match your needs to the people who will truly make a difference and drive your mission forward, and not just clock in and clock out. It also makes people feel more invested in the organization when they’re not having to fit into a role, but instead, when they feel that bringing their heart and talent to the table is enough and valued the most.
- The ripple effects deserve your attention as much as the short and long-term goals do. We are usually told to set goals and then put plans in motion to reach those. When everything we do is being measured by the success or failure of reaching those goals instead of being measured by the ripple effects of the actions that are taken and the lessons we’re learning for growth, our idea of success becomes skewed and we lose sight of the actual impact our business is making. When we put more emphasis on the continued ripple effects, our gratitude rises and we realize that we are making a difference every single day and we’re growing in more important ways that truly matter.
- Having fun is equally as important as everything else on your agenda. Let loose. Be yourself. Laugh. Have fun. It’s crucial to the energy that drives your business, how you show up every day to your team and your clients, and your general health!
- Every CEO has days when they want to give up. It’s normal and will pass. I had a recent morning where I woke up just sure that the business was doomed. I couldn’t stop crying and feeling hopeless. I pulled myself together and faced the day with as much as I could muster, and by the end of it, everything felt fine again and two big contracts came through. It’s all part of the rollercoaster. You can feel on top of the world one day, then the next day, be terrified. You have to just embrace it and know it’s part of caring about something so darn much. Feel the feelings, but don’t let them paralyze you. Trust in yourself, in your mission, in the impact you’re making, and know that those off days are totally normal!
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Lauren Eckhardt: Follow Burning Soul Press on Facebook and Instagram using @BurningSoulPress and our website. We also have a weekly Clubhouse chat called The Soul Journey: From the Pen to the Stage every Thursday at 3:00 pm EST and you can find me on clubhouse @BurningSoul.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
Lauren Eckhardt: Thank you for the amazing interview and helping us get our story out into the world!