I am a writer and I am an entrepreneur. I was naively operating for pretty long in that gray zone without questioning my grey matters. Before I became an entrepreneur I was a writer. When I was reflecting on the period of transition and the phases in transformation, I discovered those mistakes that I have unknowingly committed.
How would I have avoided those cardinal mistakes?
In hindsight I put the onus on others, if someone had preempted me or provided the necessary guidance that was needed during the journey of my change management, I would have moved much faster and gone ahead in life. This is not an isolated story or a story of mine alone, there are thousands of others I am sure who are in this very state and are looking for the right ways and correct means to migrate to the new state of affair.
The tantalizing state of being hyphenated as a “writer-entrepreneur”
And then the question; is there anything fundamentally flawed in the phrasing of words, I suppose intellectually not. The flaw lies in the way we approach the changeover to become a writer-entrepreneur. The moot question remains, what does it really mean to be a writer-entrepreneur; how easy or complicated it is to be able to carve a business profession out of the writing passion. The passion is deeply rooted in the writer’s heart and writer gets submerged in the passion ignoring, avoiding and resisting the factors needed to turn it into a profession.
The first thing that I needed to change was my “Mindset”, I had a strong mindset that as a writer I am a creative person and my job is to keep producing the creative work and then the work will be automatically reaching and capturing the “Market”. The world of readers who will read, comment, critique and appreciate my work. In the process I had totally ignored this piece of thought which equally matters in the profession of being a writer-entrepreneur. I kept writing and I kept publishing I was enjoying the creative freedom. But I didn’t get the market share though I was emotionally satiated with the mind share. I kept questioning why a good writing product is not selling in the market when I have seen so many mediocre writing products are giving a run for their money to many great products.
Does meritocracy matters over mediocrity in this writing space?
Is the good product has any significant edge over the average product towards achieving the overwhelming market success?
I could slowly decipher the hidden pattern after due engagement through my critical observation. I realized that my mind as a writer is not sufficient to suffice the market need of a writer-entrepreneur. The market needs not just a good product but a product that is well-positioned, well-packaged and well-presented. The inference seemed quite obvious and the foregone conclusion from the analysis was pretty apparent. I had no clue, what it means and how on earth does minor cosmetic changes can make such a major face-lift, though it literally does on our physical body through scientific surgeries.
I started exploring the finer nuances of how to market my writing products as an entrepreneur, and I started shifting my skewed focus on the elements of “technical” design and development to the aspects of the product that can be perceived to be “tantalizing” for the target audience. It is a new skill and every new skill needs learning.
There is this learning curve which I needed to crossover.
Adding new technical skills for a creative writer takes time; adding marketing skills take longer time. Similarly, when it comes to the tossup between writing and reading I was no exception and it was a conscious trade-off, how much time I needed to allocate towards writing and how much time I needed to apportion on learning, and it was not at all an easy act of balancing. There is no prescribed formula and there is no set rule to follow, it was purely contextual and it squarely depends on the preferences and proclivities of one’s mental makeup.
I had the initial inclination towards the number game. The number and the game, was still lurking in my mind. I followed the 80-20 rule (few days 80% writing and 20% reading and just the reverse other days in the week); when I face with such grey matters I normally don’t allow my mind to get tax unduly and not attempting to reinvent the “wheel of wisdom” I religiously started on the proven path, here it was governed by the Pareto Principles. I did exactly the same and I started seeing the change and a change in the right direction, though it took little more time then I had anticipated but the investment was worth it.
Yes, I started talking the “language of entrepreneur”, indeed it provided a different voice to my own stories. Though as a writer I had to keep improving my vocabulary, the language needed that fresh acquisition of words to make my thoughts count where it matters. The language of entrepreneur needs that new set of vocabulary, and it includes marketing, presentation, networking, budgeting, planning, goal setting, meeting targets and talking about numbers.
The essential shift is from the thought of text to thinking on number.
As a creative writer I was passionately obsessed with words and with text, but as a business entrepreneur I had to start counting the numbers and record the calculation, analyze the historical patterns and start predicting the future trends. I had to start organizing things and not get inadvertently trapped in the web as I kept creating more pieces (constantly striving for that masterpiece) as a creative writer, my table was randomly scattered with fiction to non-fiction books, nuggets of wisdom in notepads, newspaper clippings to business magazines to scientific periodicals and journals. I was randomly misplaced in the mechanical maze and ironically in those mechanics of mind I use to discover my thoughts to write the creative stuff.
Being a writer-entrepreneur, it needed a change and a definite change, the change in the way I organize and function. The ability to smartly organize things was subtly missing in me. The things to do and do it as per schedule and scheduling the task using tools like Evernote to Freshbooks. These technological tools does act like solid levers in channeling our efforts and converting our energy into strong powerhouse. And these are certainly empowering our mind to free us from the side tasks and get our entire envelope focused on the main task in hand.
Being a writer-entrepreneur is not just about dwelling on “creativity” but it is also about our dedication we have towards “productivity”. Click To Tweet
This is something, as a creative writer I always gave a walk over, never gave a heed to concept of productivity and only was hidden in the cover of creativity. The moment I started being more organized it gave a quantum fillip both to my creativity and productivity. I was able to organize my scattered time much better and that had immediate and direct impact on my creative engagement outcomes.
I could put a number to my creative work, I was able to produce double and triple the number of articles in a day that I was otherwise not able to generate even in a week. I was somehow clumsily stifled in my own frame of formulation. I was anchored. I was limiting my recipe for experimentation that could have made all the difference. It was as if I was obstinately imprisoned in my preaching on breaking the barriers and making a difference but not practicing what I was so profusely preaching. It was overtly essential for me to discover that open space to explore that creative productivity as against operating in that closet creative captivity.
As a writer I never fastened my work with “time” and with “targets”.
I took resources for granted. I generously allowed the virtual space and freedom for my thoughts to land whenever it felt to do so and which ever place it preferred to, the preference was left wide open. I realized as writer-entrepreneur, I was ignoring few vital resources, for instance the resource of time, as writer I always felt time was unlimited; it was a philosophical presumption which I often made wearing the writer’s hat. I had to change my supposition and courses corrected from my beaten path and designated time as a central element in my new role as writer-entrepreneur.
I could see a sea change in my outlook and output.
I was a completely transformed person; I started critically re-examining my capabilities. Though the aspect of time remains the constant factor in everybody’s life which is unequivocally available equally and no one can protest about any inequality, I did reset my targets and started constantly meeting those stretched targets and simultaneously kept shifting the bar and I was surprised how I was able to cross those raised bars setting new benchmarks. It was a pleasant revelation, a re-engineered process of instilling a renewed confidence and recasting a fresh set of faith in my own belief system.
Now I was able to discreetly convert those stones into milestones.
Here are the summary of the “VITAL five from TRIVIAL others” of my learning curve of being a mere writer towards the hyphenation as a writer-entrepreneur.
- The Mindset
- The Marketing
- The Organization
- Work Scheduling
- Time Tracking
- The Productivity
- The Resource
These is no kids play but this can certainly truncate the time span of the learning curve for those who are sincerely aspiring to embark on such a transformative journey from being a writer to writer-entrepreneur;