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Careers and Enterprise

Sophia Eleni

Discover Sophia's story from studying at Queen Mary to running a self-publishing marketplace.

    Please briefly introduce yourself and describe your current business...

    Hi, I’m Sophia Eleni and I’m the founder of TheBookshop.NFT – a self-publishing marketplace for authors to mint their books as NFTs. I’m also the CEO of Perspective Press Global - a publishing firm representing authors under the age of 20. 

     An image of Sophie Eleni, founder of The Bookshop

    How did you come up with your business idea, and what problem does it address? 

    As a bestselling author, it’s frustrating to see my books be resold for sometimes thrice as much as retail and not receive any second-hand royalties. The beauty of NFTs is giving creatives back their power; every time a book is sold the original author will always receive a royalty - even if it’s sold 20,000 times, the original artist/creator will always be paid.  

    It’s also difficult to build a strong rapport with my readers; NFTs act as keys to unlock different attributes which contribute towards building a stronger relationship between author and reader. For example, if Gary Vee released a book on TheBookshop.NFT, those holding the book in their wallet can now receive exclusive benefits such as free tickets to his next show, a signed copy of a physical book and any other incentives the author may wish to offer.  

    The value proposition NFTs hold is undermined considering the volatility and freshness of the crypto market but that’s why it’s a great time to build now – so when things do stabilise, we’re ready to launch and onboard authors in the Web3 space.  

    But this business isn’t just about helping authors like myself; it’s about giving creatives back their power to earn their well-deserved royalties and to enhance author-reader relationships. 


      What inspired you to pursue entrepreneurship while or after your education at Queen Mary? 

      Saying ‘yes’ to one careers appointment was the spark that inspired everything. I had an idea and took it to an enterprise appointment - at that time Izzy, from Foundervine - was working as part of the enterprise team. I told her my ideas about running a publishing firm for young writers and she really put everything from pen to paper for me.  

      That diagram changed my mindset - all those ideas in my head were now on paper - making things less intimidating and much more doable. So, if you have an idea, please take this as your sign to take advantage of the opportunities offered to you by the enterprise team. You never know what that opportunity may lead to.  

      I was then recommended to apply to the QAccelerator and that’s the first time I pitched my business; we weren’t even generating revenue; we were still an idea - I think there’s a huge misconception that you need a fully operational business to pitch - sometimes having a plan and vision is enough for investors to see your credibility. Remember, people buy from people - the business is always adjustable - the founder is who they invest in. 


      What were your goals at the beginning of your journey and how did they change/evolve throughout time?  

      Goals are always changing. Especially as a solo founder, when you’re the accountant, marketing manager and the editor of the firm. There are days when you plan to focus on one aspect of the business, but the demands of other areas take precedence.  

      Fear and doubts are inevitable especially in the current living standards, are you ready to pursue your own thing? And the answer is always yes. That’s not to say leave your full-time job and stability when you’re just starting but even if you devote 1 hour a day to your new idea, you’re already doing something that’s moving you away from fear and doubts.  

      Overcoming fear and doubts involves taking small steps, Affirmations, self-development talks, books such as ‘Think and Grow Rich’ are a great read - don’t be fooled by the title; Hill doesn’t just talk about wealth. One can become rich in health, business and mindset too. 


      How have you used entrepreneurship for positive social change, and what impact have you seen in your community or industry, if any? 

      Always being mission led – the mission will always change but what impact do you want in the world? Even when things get tough – which they will – it’s important to remind yourself why you started in the first place. Focus on your why 

      My first business, 100%, a publishing house advocating for authors under 20 and amplifying their voices, has been a lifelong mission. My journey began at the age of 13 when I faced rejection from traditional publishers, compelling me to take action. 

      At TheBookshop.NFT, progress has been slower, partly due to the ongoing crypto bear market. Nonetheless, as a female entrepreneur in this space, it's rewarding to engage in crypto events and connect with like-minded industry professionals. 

      At TheBookshop.NFT –things have been a lot slower especially given the crypto bear market we’re in. However, as a female in this space it’s great to be speaking at crypto events and meeting likeminded people in the industry. Given my non-technical background, I must consistently learn and adapt and that’s why its key to network and always be a student.  

      My mission is to represent young authors and navigate the crypto industry as a female entrepreneur, despite the challenges posed by the crypto bear market. Achieving a place in the Santander X Finals last year was a significant accomplishment, especially given the current stance of central banks toward digital currencies. I'm continually striving to disrupt the prevailing narrative and educate people in areas where change is needed. 


      What advice would you give to current students or recent graduates who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship? 

      Please just go for it – it sounds so cliché but if you don’t try you will never know. Queen Mary have been incredibly supportive over the years, and I wouldn’t be where I am if I had not visited for my enterprise appointment.  

      Even for someone without a tech background, my experience should demonstrate that your background doesn't define your success. Surround yourself with the right people, go to events, network and understand that you deserve to be there. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help; please message alumni entrepreneurs too; we want to help you! Go to your enterprise appointment, organise all those ideas in your mind and you'll find that everything falls into place. 


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