A couple of years ago we interviewed an author, speaker and entrepreneur named Princess Siziba who had overcome many challenges as a teen mom and was determined to be successful. Well, since then, Princess has made in greater strides and now owns a publishing company. We decided to reach out to her and find out all about her new venture!
Tell us more about WING UP.
WING UP Publishing is a leading publisher of transformative and self-help books, whether fiction or non-fiction. Our mission is to use the power of storytelling and excellence in creative writing to inspire, give hope and transform minds and lives. With clients stretching across Germany, China, UK, South Africa and Zimbabwe, WING UP has continued to evolve to become one the greatest publishing houses to emerge from Africa that [is] female-owned.
How did you decide on starting the publishing house?
I think my story is almost one of accidental success. The last time I had reported for work prior to my starting my company was two years ago. And this is not because I never chased opportunities but for the strange reason that the doors I kept beating on just would not open.
I seemed to be dealing with what I term the “almost syndrome.” I almost secured a permanent position at a large corporation. I almost settled in America. I almost established myself. I almost got a breakthrough. Every time I put one foot in the door, I would be pushed back out.
After pursuing an opportunity overseas that did not yield anything, I flew halfway across the world just to move back in with my mother *sigh* Broken dreams and rock bottom. I always seemed to end up right where I began.
When I would meet friends and family, I would dread the question “So what are you doing these days?” In response, I would try to be [the] most confident and say, “I’m still focusing on writing books.” I would often be met with “What about work?” *sigh* Dry seasons and dead ends.
I began to ponder. Could it be that work just was not for me because God desired that I enlarge my capacity to be a business owner? Realizing that I might soon become a liability, I sat down and began to reflect. I looked within, so I could start with what I had. What strengths and skills do I carry? I am an author, so how can I perfect my skills and create something meaningful?
Apart from my writing, I have been editing and proofreading books for other authors for over a year. People also approach me to review their manuscripts and endorse their books. And so I began to enhance my skills by also teaching people how to write books. I soon realized that many have confidence in my abilities, so why not publish for them? And so began the journey of officially launching WING UP.
What challenges have you faced?
WING UP Publishing was started in the midst of a pandemic and automation and digitalization to adapt and keep with the changing times has been quite a challenge. Fortunately for our clients, we use Amazon as a distributor to reach people [the] world over without having to set foot on those continents.
Who has been your support system?
My story would be incomplete without crediting God for the woman I have become. He has been my foundational support in that the root of WING UP emanates from the purpose He embedded in me.
Marshal Chiza, a fellow publisher and friend, has also been a great support because he taught me so much about the industry and always pushes me to do better. These words often echo in my heart: “Noma, you can do better than this.” In turn, doing things with excellence has been second nature for me.
How did you manage to set it up?
I started WING UP with a zero bank balance. This is not a ‘I started my first restaurant with a cup of rice’ kind of story. This is me sharing my personal experience on how I started WING UP Publishing without start-up capital.
Believe it or not, my journey starts on a vision board in the year 2019. At the time, my reality looked nothing like I had dreamed, but I had to keep my hope alive by creating a vision board out of pictures and words cut from old magazines and newspapers.
Of course, I could not even afford a logo designer, so I began to look for free resources online that I could use to create a logo, of which I managed to come up with a decent one. For the name, I chose the acronym of my first book “Why I Never Gave Up” which becomes WING UP. Almost poetic, I know. I suppose some things are just meant to be. The name represents the mind-blowing transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly. That is why I publish books that transform the minds and lives of people. Lockdown restrictions made it easier to be able to work from home, so I didn’t have to worry about finding office space.
Today, I have a full portfolio of my work, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I have clients in the UK, Germany, China, South Africa and Zimbabwe. I’m so glad I started and ignored the voice that said, “You can’t do it.” As a female in a male-dominated industry, I believe I have taken up space, and I’m still to tap into new territory.
It all started as a written-down dream on a vision board. And if I hadn’t started, I’d have nothing.
How many books have you published so far at your publishing house?
We have done 13 books in a short period of time, and the books include poetry and illustrated children’s books as well. I’m currently working on two other projects.
What is your advice to women who would like to start their own publishing house?
- Always write the vision down.
- Look within.
- Perfect your skills.
- Always look for free resources or courses online that could help your dream.
- Be knowledgeable on your field of work.
- Research and upskill and treat YouTube like a school. You’d be amazed at the in-depth knowledge you will gain from it.
- Befriend those in your field to create social capital.
Read Princess’ original story here: