By the title, I guess you're asking yourself what the hell is she talking about? So let me just get right into it. Entrepreneurship has its good and its bad. No, I'm not going to complain about it but I will explain my thought pattern.
Entrepreneurship has its great moments like completing a project and knowing that it started with an idea and (insert amount of time) it flourished into a finished product. Whatever business that you're in you want to share that product for the love of your craft but also because these bills gotta get paid and you want to build wealth. Now some people suggest advertising your product at the least, six months in advance. From my experience advertising my book two months in advance, yeah, you should go for six months. I would have taken that advice if I only knew then what I knew now. Now to the bad. How to advertise? If you don't have sponsors or deep pockets then how can you advertise? Better yet what if you're a one man band and you don't have samples of your product? That can be a conundrum . . .
I made the mistake that most first-time inexperienced entrepreneurs make which is, build it and they will come. This isn't so. My mindset was MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD must draw attention because it's so taboo and MANY people have or know someone who has been abused. So why put in that extra effort to market when I know people will buy it? Eh, wrong! I had a couple of people who before the book was complete told me that they were going to support it by purchasing the book. I believed once they did, it was a guarantee that they would love the book and thus share it with everyone they knew. This was a flawed concept, just because someone purchases something, it doesn't mean that they'll use it. What? Have you ever bought a cheap little trinket, maybe at some souvenir store and as soon as you bought it, looked at it and played around with it, you were done? That can happen with your product too. Just because you feel that it's important doesn't mean others will. On the flipside, MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD is about 500 pages. Let's say a person reads 10 pages a day, that means in about 50 days they COULD tell a friend about how great my book is. We all know a billing cycle is 30 days, so how efficient would that be? You might be asking yourself, okay VIE how does that help me? Be patient young grasshopper. My product is a nonfiction ebook based on my upbringing, it's not soap, hair care, or a gadget. To make the ebook come alive I needed to actually finish it up so when it came to marketing, I felt like I couldn't advertise it. How could I market a product in the works? To me, it felt like The Emperor's New Clothes and there was bound to be someone that tells me I'm naked aka pulls my card and asks for an excerpt. How could I share an excerpt without having a complete book? That was one of my dilemmas because a potential customer would have to trust me, and trust nowadays goes as far as a college degree (I would know, I still get Sallie Mae letters).
My suggestion is to go ahead and advertise. For example, let's say a book, do you have a book cover? A rough draft? Hell, a title? If you do, push whatever you have and fluff it up a bit. By fluffling I mean include what the book is about, the synopsis, the characters, where does it take place etc. Make the book come alive even if it isn't completed yet because the anticipation of a product is better than a complete product and no customers. Don't exaggerate, though, and be as transparent as you can. Don't take pre-orders UNLESS you have a date you know for a FACT that you can release the book. This also includes a website where they can purchase and read up on the synopsis and who you are as an author. On your website, make sure you have a paypal or credit card link where people can make a secure purchase and not worry about some person in butt-scratch Louisiana claiming to be them. Lastly, if you're sending physical copies, do you have a business account with USPS, FEDEX, or UPS? You don't need a business account to ship per se but depending on how much money you have to invest and how big your business is, you might not need one but there are certain benefits to having a business account to ship items.
Sane or insane. When you're your own boss, you don't have the luxury of half-assing anything because success or failure depends on how hard you work. Like the saying goes, "You can't cheat the hustle" and it's true. For the past two years, I can't tell you how many events I skipped because editing or writing was more important. I can't tell you the relationships that had dissipated over the course of 24 months due to the creation of this book. I can't tell you how many days that turned into nights that turned into days while working on this book. I'm not a tight schedule type of person, I'm more of a get it done now, no matter how long it takes and when the task is done, move on to the next tasks until the project is done. I'm consistent about getting tasks done because I like to think my word is bound and the last thing I want to do is break it. So if I promise myself I would be working on my book and it doesn't get done I feel like a failure. Truth be told, if I let someone down it hurts, but when I let myself down it's torture. I hate that feeling so I don't do it often. Many people had questioned my dedication, asking me why I worked so hard on MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD. Some caught an attitude when I simply replied "I'm busy" or "I'm always busy" they took it as a slight towards themselves when in reality, I'M BUSY. I'm sorry, but not sorry that I consider my future and desires more important that entertaining you. Yeah, that was a burn. If you're an empathic person like me, you take everyone's baggage and throw it on your shoulders but when it comes to your business, the only baggage you need to worry about is closing successful sales. Not everyone will understand, support, or even care about your product but if you're the only person that does, you're winning. And if you do it right, you'll be saying, "Back then they didn't want me now I'm hot they all want me" in your Mike Jones voice.
Success is lonely, yeah kind of a bummer. It's true that success brings envy. People you would have never pinpointed as undercover Judases or haters are. It does take a toll on you because the good times flash through your brain and you recount all the good times but then you shake yourself into present time and realize that was then and this is now. Some people you gotta love them from afar, other people cut them off and keep running to the top like Forest. Why? Because who you associate with reflects on you. If you keep giving people umpteen chances knowing it's in their character to screw you over, I can't be mad at him or her but at you. Yeah, you because people can only do what you allow them to. In the words of J.Cole "Fool me one time, shame on you. Fool me twice, can't put the blame on you. Fool me three times, fuck the peace sign, load the chopper let it rain on you!" Am I advocating for murder? No, but I am advocating for self-respect. Good business owners have the most upright respect for themselves when they know who they are, who's allowed in their circle, and the power to exclude anyone at any time. Ask Donald Trump's "You're Fired!" racist self. And the great thing about success, it draws other successful people. You magnetize who you are so those empty spaces around you are bound to be filled with like-minded people just like you, so don't fret. The journey to entrepreneurialship isn't easy but it's oh so rewarding!
Be Entertained. Be Blessed. Be Loved. ✌