SOME TRUTHS (HARD & OTHERWISE) ABOUT BEING AN ENTREPRENEURIAL AUTHOR
When I think I’m accomplishing nothing (something of an exaggeration even when I am not being as productive as I would like) it is salutary to recall where I was as recently as only six months ago, and see how far both operational matters, and my understanding, of the project have progressed. Nonetheless, some of my friends and readers (and many are both) are decidedly frustrated with me because I seem to be progressing so slowly.
I sympathize with them, but most have no experience of setting up a venture so don’t understand; and I’m not sure excuses contribute much to the debate – even when they are both valid and reasonable. And reasons sound remarkably like excuses. Sometimes, you only really understand something when you have been through it.
For instance, though I have a vivid imagination and am widely read (a phrase with two meanings), I only really started to understand what it was like to be shot at when I came under fire and had someone killed close by. Just for starters, the control you think you have over your body just isn’t there any more. You might not visibly lose it, but the effect of fear upon one’s system is near overwhelming. Also, it is not just immediate. There tends to be a reaction both soon after the occurrence; and much later - and sometimes it occurs again and again. Post traumatic stress is very real, and still does not get the attention it deserves.
But let me get back to being an entrepreneurial author. The stress is different from being under fire, but it is still stress; worse, it can continue for years; and it can be gut-wrenching. With luck, I’ll stop you becoming an entrepreneurial author with PTSD. Here are some of the fruits of my experience; and no, I am not a pessimist. Perhaps I used to be, but, over time, I have built up a lot of faith that things will work out if you have paid your dues.
1. COUNT ON IT: PEOPLE WILL LOSE FAITH IN YOU; BUT NOT ALL.
2. YOU NEED A SUPPORT SYSTEM, BUT IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE LARGE.
3. IF YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING FOR THE FIRST TIME, ALMOST EVERYTHING TAKES LONGER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK.
4. IF YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING FOR THE FIRST TIME WITHOUT ADEQUATE RESOURCES, IT WILL SEEM TO TAKE FOR EVER.
5. IF YOU ARE A WRITER, YOU PROBABLY WON’T HAVE ADEQUATE RESOURCES.
6. THE TRANSITION FROM ENTREPRENEURIAL IDEA TO VIABLE BUSINESS VENTURE DOES NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.
7. NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU PLAN – AND YOU SHOULD PLAN - THINGS WILL GO WRONG. IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO THINK OF EVERYTHING; AND YOU PROBABLY WON’T.
8. THINGS ALSO HAVE A HABIT OF WORKING OUT - JUST WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT.
9. DEADLINES ARE SOMETIMES NECESSARY, BUT DOING THE JOB RIGHT IS VASTLY MORE IMPORTANT. CREATIVE WORK SHOULD ALWAYS BE AS GOOD AS YOU CAN MAKE IT (and preferably better).
10. THE HARDEST, YET MOST IMPORTANT PART OF ANY VENTURE IS ASSEMBLING YOUR TEAM. AND EVEN IF YOU ARE A ONE MAN BAND, YOU NEED A TEAM.
11. JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN’T SOLVE A PROBLEM DOESN’T MEAN YOU WON’T. SOME THINGS JUST TAKE TIME, PERSPECTIVE AND SERENDIPITY.
12. THE PACE OF PROGRESS IS RARELY EVEN. THINK OF IT AS LIKE CYCLING ON COBBLES ON A BIKE EQUIPPED WITH IRREGULAR WHEELS; AND THE TIRES ARE FLAT.
13. IT IS A THOROUGHLY GOOD IDEA NEVER TO LOSE YOUR TEMPER. REMEMBER: COOL IS KING.
14. IT CAN BE USEFUL TO BE SELF-CRITICAL; JUST DON’T OVERDO IT. IF YOU ARE NOT CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF, DON’T EXPECT OTHERS TO BE.
15. NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU WORK, YOU WILL HAVE YOUR OFF-DAYS. CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK.
16. PERSEVERE, REGARDLESS OF ANY AND ALL PROBLEMS, AND YOUR ODDS OF SUCCESS ARE GOOD.
17. WHEN YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL, AND THE DOUBTING THOMASES START TREATING YOU WITH RESPECT AGAIN - AND THIS MAY TAKE YEARS -
CUT THEIR THROATS BE NICE AND SAY NOTHING. IT’S ALWAYS A SHAME TO LOSE A READER.
A good friend of mine – and someone who is very much a member of the team (and follows developments in some detail) – recently wrote:
“I see a quickening pace overall and a rollercoaster of ups and down as time and other resources remain in constant demand.
FITS & STARTS, SPRINTS & STOPS - are the order of the day for your immediate future At the end of each stop, as you gasp for breath, cash or time you will be able to see progress filling in behind you.
You are a content driven enterprise and you have the content by the bucket-full.
Wishing you the very best of luck and success as this venture launches.”
“Fits and starts; sprints & stops!” The man puts it well, and tells it like it really tends to be.