Working for the love of it is what gets you started. What keeps you in the game however, is business acumen.
Though as writers we start out just wanting to get our voices heard, there will come a moment when you know, it’s time to level up.
I have a great network of amazing writers and business women that I have surrounded myself with and that seems to be the recurring theme lately. Sure we have built audiences, refined our writing, tried and failed and tried some more, but we all realize that we’re ready to step up our business. In a recent post I talked about the Identity Crisis of a Writer. Some of us will simply just want to write as a hobby and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But there will be others of us who want to define our careers as writers and also make money.
And that takes time! In the beginning, you are really just trying to figure it out. Do you even have anything someone would be willing to pay for? That moment of realization came to me when I released my first book Dear Love. At my release event when a room full of people showed up and I sold out of books, I realized I had a tangible talent on my hands. I’ve been hooked ever since on the possibility that my talent could indeed sustain me. But it is a journey.
As I am sure you know at this point, maintaining a successful blog is about so much more than simply writing a few posts a week. We become graphic designers, marketers, event hosts and much more. But it becomes important to begin to evaluate what is contributing to your bottom line and what is taking away from it.
I love this concept that Toure Roberts of One Church LA shared during one of his sermons. He talked about evaluating his yes. The fact of the matter is, when you are building something, you want to say yes to everything. Every Twitter chat, every panel, every collaboration that has the possibility of getting your face in front of a new audience. But at some point as Roberts put it, your “yes” just becomes more expensive.
I don’t mean that every opportunity has to pay. But what I do mean is that every opportunity needs to be feeding the bottom line. We have families, we have books and blogs, we have friends, relationships, homes, self-care and much more that we are trying to manage on the daily basis. Whether we realize it or not, our time becomes REALLY precious. In the quest to level up, we simply do not have the time to waste. We have to spend more time evaluating our yes. Here are a few questions to ask in that process:
- Does it pay?
- How much time will it take to complete?
- Does the pay equate to the time that it will take me to complete?
- Will it take time away from something or someone important in my personal life?
- Is it reaching my target audience?
- Does it feed into the work that I am trying to promote right now?
- Does it have the ability to lead to important networking?
- Will this position me as a thought leader in my field?
- Does an unpaid opportunity have the ability to lead me to more paid opportunities?
And it’s easy for something to look good. There are good distractions all day long. But I love that my pastor, Lester Brown reminded us that “sometimes you can get distracted by good on the way to great.” This one was a doozy. Sure there are tons of GOOD opportunities. But just because it’s a good look doesn’t mean that it necessarily deserves a spot on your already crowded plate. Will it feed into your journey to great? That’s what we need to be asking ourselves as “opportunities” are thrown our way.
CLICK TO TWEET /// Just because it's a good look doesn't mean that it deserves a spot on your already crowded plate.
At some point last year I really wanted to grow my audience. I mean I had been blogging for some time and I felt like a lot of my colleagues had a lot more readers and engagement. So I went in. I was posting 4 times a week, developing better strategies for social and improving my brand and writing. I was stuck in a plateau and so I had to do something different in order to achieve different results.
Now I am at the next plateau. I have built what I think is a steady tribe, though I am still constantly working on that and I am making money through various aspects of my business, but it’s time to level that up. So that includes being way more intentional about how I am spending my time. As a person with A LOT of ideas, that means finishing one idea before beginning the next. It means cutting down on the amount of projects I am trying to focus on at once. And it also means spending way more time creating than consuming. I also have to be a lot more conscious of my profit margins and business processes. I HATE keeping track of business expenses. Lol. I just want to write. But until I am making enough to have someone manage that for me, it is what it is. Businesses all have to run similarly to be successful no matter what the product is. This product just happens to be writing!
It’s all about knowing what you want. I know that at some point I would like to be able to work on my business and brand full-time. That ain’t going to happen by osmosis. So, in this season, I am looking at a new level and each new level, requires a new me. Focus is probably the single hardest thing for so many in our generation to achieve. We are just bombarded with time wasters. But it’s up to you. It’s up to you to evaluate what it takes to get to your next level. Not someone else’s next level who is already 10 steps ahead of you. Then, there is the work to get there.
So how can you be more intentional in order to get to your next level?