We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Outten and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Stephanie, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
Each year I reflect on a quote that guides me and fuels my expectations for the year. For 2021, the quote that inspires me is, “Girls with big dreams become women with VISION.” I remember being 11 or 12 years old and an avid reader. I remembered that in the Acknowledgements of every book I read, the author always acknowledged their publisher. I had no idea at the time what a publisher was or did, but I knew it had to be pretty special for the author to acknowledge them. So, I made the declaration at a young age, “I’m going to be a book publisher one day.” Of course, I didn’t even remember that as I grew up, graduated from college and started what became a 22 year in the Human Resources field.

However, in 2015 as I was finalizing writing my first book, “Is This the Way to Joy?” I had no idea who I would get to publish it. I knew someone who had a publishing company, but that person told me I would need to figure out the publishing journey on my own. So, that’s exactly what I did. I started Cocoon to Wings Publishing from a revelation God gave me of how I had been this butterfly trapped in a cocoon waiting to set my wings free. I started my publishing company thinking I was only going to publish my own books. God had another plan! Over 30 years from when I made my declaration that I was going to be a book publisher one day, God brought that DREAM back full force and made it a VISION that has propelled me in my Kingdom-driven business that I operate in partnership with God. The little girl with a big dream became a grown women with a vision that has allowed me to publish numerous fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books for anointed authors across the country.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Cocoon to Wings Publishing is an independent book publisher supporting new and existing authors in birthing their “literary babies” into the world. We specialize in fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. We have a full team of vendors who support CTWP in bringing the author’s book vision to life, and we partner each step of the way with the author to get their book into the marketplace. As the owner and CEO, I also serve as one of the literary coaches to authors who need writing coaching support to understand how to tell their story in the written format. We offer Classic and Deluxe Publishing packages that are both full-scale publishing services that take the pressure off of authors who don’t want to handle the self-publishing process of doing it all on their own. Our integrity and service excellence is what makes us stand out, and we’ve had many clients to return whether for publishing, writing coaching, or partaking in our products and other offerings such as retreats, content creation, etc.

PURE Solutions is a partnership between me and my business partner, Ereka Thomas. Our business was created in 2021 to support female Kingdom business owners who have a mandate from God to develop businesses that dominate in their sphere of influence. We use our signature HVA method to understand what the business was created to do, who they are called to serve and what vehicles are needed to position them firmly in the marketplace. We then connect our clients to technology, people, marketing, media, and content resources that support the work they are called to do in order to reach the market they desire.

Being a full-time entrepreneur has not been easy. I’ve faced numerous struggles, especially at the inception of the publishing business, with not having the right processes in place, undervaluing my services which led to not charging what I am worth, and the list goes on. When I started in business, I was still working full-time and doing the business on the side. But, on October 1, 2018, I stepped into the deep and began operating in my business full-time. I went from making a great annual salary, having a steady paycheck, a nice townhome with no real worries, to having no income, no clients and having to move in with family to become a full-time caregiver for my mother who battles dementia.

Navigating business and personal obligations, along with an ill parent, is extremely difficult at times, yet I continue to persevere because I know God chose me for this life and I will live it with intention and purpose. When you know what God has called you to do, you might get thrown off track from time to time, but you won’t let anything deter you from your assignment.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I currently live in Tampa, FL but I lived in the ATL for a couple of years, so I could recommend places in both cities. I’ll give some of my favorite spots in Tampa, though, in case someone decides they want to come visit.

-Ybor City has a wealth of things to do. It’s known for its great Cuban, Latin American and other types of restaurants, boutiques, nightlife, Centro Ybor. It’s a diverse area with something for everyone.

-Sparkman Wharf (formerly “Channelside”) has waterfront views, dining, live music.

-Busch Gardens theme park, The Florida Aquarium, Port of Tampa for day cruises, Riverfront Straz Center for the Performing Arts, a ton of beaches like Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach to name a couple.

Depending on what you want to do, or like to do, you can find it in Tampa Bay.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I may have the longest list in the world, but I will stay focused and pray no one feels slighted if I left them out:

-My first shoutout goes to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior who, apart from Him, I can’t do anything.

-My Cocoon to Wings Publishing family/team of independent contractors who treat this business like their own – Ereka Thomas, E. Claudette Freeman, Calvin Reynolds, Monica Fortson, Tracy Carter, Keyaira Wynn, Ekow Addai, Adrienne Horn, Fabiola Mehu, and my amazing VA, Tammy Mullings, I would not be able to do what I do to produce anointed books into the marketplace without each of every one of you. You each make me a better person, a stronger leader, and you make CTWP a place where authors want to publish their literary babies.

-My first business coach and forever sister-friend, Kimberly Hemmingway – words cannot express how much I honor you for walking with me through life and business.

-My soul coaches, Dr. Loneryl “Dee” Reid and Minister Annette D. Brown, the world needs more people like you who care more about a person’s soul and ensuring we get our souls right so that we can serve from a healed and whole place the way God intended.

-My BFF, Carolyne St. Louis, who literally supports EVERYTHING I do, even when it isn’t great. My brother David Williams, and my male BFF, David Beasley, for always holding me down and encouraging me even when I’ve wanted to give it all up and go back to corporate.

-Every client who has allowed me, personally, and my CTWP team, to enter your lives to help you birth your stories out into the world. I thank you for your trust in me and CTWP.

-My business partner, Ereka Thomas (yep, I mentioned her before). Thank you for partnering with me to bring PURE Solutions Group (our newest business) from Kingdom to earth. Thank you to Julia Winston of BRAVE Leadership Consulting for getting us into alignment so we could hear from Heaven on this new business venture.

Onward and Upward we go!

Other: https://linktr.ee/StephanieOutten

Image Credits
David Beasley Jr.

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