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Balancing business and craft: difficult, but necessary

November 1, 2013

Publishing is changing! You need to self-publish, or at least know how. And don’t forget social media. You need that, too. And a platform. Don’t forget to start building that platform. Pitch. Pitch. Pitch.

We’ve even said it here–you are a small business.

The problem with being a small business is that you are all departments. You have to produce the product (typically while performing research and development for the next product). You also have to market the work and make sure it’s seen and known about in the right places–you know, to get people to buy it.

You may need to figure out what incentives you want to offer to get people to buy. And then you need to check the budget to make sure those incentives are possible. And you need to determine what things to put on sale–figure out whether you want a loss leader and where to make up the money.

But you aren’t producing widgets or submarine sandwiches or shirts. You are producing unique works of art. Artwork and business precision are two vastly different skill sets. (Though shirts and sub sandwiches require a certain kind of artistry, too. And what exactly is a widget?)

All you really want to do is write stories.

But the guy who makes widgets–that’s what he just wants to do. Same thing with the sandwich woman and the shirt guy. Unfortunately, as a small business, you have to do all those things. And like with the widgets, sandwiches, and shirts, sometimes you have to do it while you’re busy with a day job and a family, too.

I had a friend who opened and ran a children’s clothing store in a mall. For weeks, he worked all day at his day job, then went to the mall and worked on getting the store ready. Then he got up and did the same thing the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat until the store opened. (After that, his wife basically ran the store.)

That’s what we’re doing, too. Except we don’t require heavy lifting or carpentry skills for our business.

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