Depending on what survey you follow, 80-90% of Americans say they’d like to write a book someday. That’s not to say they will. Most won’t even start one. Why?
Because writing a book is hard. Trust me, I’ve done it. It takes considerable time and commitment and there’s no guarantee for success should you finish it.
In many ways, it’s not so different from starting a business (something I’m also familiar with). Much like book writing, many people want to start their own business – over half of the US population, in fact. And just like with book writing, most of those people won’t try.
“Where do I even begin?” they think.
Whether you’re starting a business or writing a book, it starts with the same thing:
Many people simply like the idea of creating something. The trouble is, they don’t have a viable idea to work off of. You can’t create a book or a business without some sort of concept or starting point.
If you want to write a story, this idea could be a single scene that you can build off of. Did you know that James Cameron created the Terminator franchise after having a nightmare of a metal skull surrounded by fire?
For a business, it could start with simply fulfilling a need in your own life. Airbnb was started because the founder was struggling to pay his housing bills, so he began renting out part of his home.
Both of these simple ideas went on to make billions of dollars.
Of course, this is just step one. Once you have an idea, you can start planning things out.
Even if a would-be writer gets around to writing a book, there’s a good chance they won’t finish. They get a few pages in. Maybe a few chapters. And then they get stuck. They’re lost, with no visible way of continuing their story.
Or they simply lose their passion. And then, everything falls apart.
The same is true for people who start a business. They have their idea, they get a name, they get things rolling, and then it all unravels. There’s a key element missing here.
Whether you’re starting a business or writing a book, you need a plan. Book writers will create an outline. They may even map out key characters and write backstories for them. This gives you a plan to follow and helps you realize parts that don’t work in your initial idea.
A business plan does the same thing. It turns your initial spark of inspiration into a workable process. It gives you an end goal to work towards.
Some writers may succeed without an outline. And some businesses might squeeze by without a formal plan. But the majority don’t. Increase your chances of success. Have a plan.
Revisions. Revisions. Revisions.
Once you’ve finished writing your book, you might feel like the battle is over. You’re wrong. Now begins the revision process. It’s time to comb through and delete as much as you can. Any part of the story that’s not working, any word that’s unnecessary, any typo that you’ve made, all of it needs to go.
If it’s not necessary in the grand picture, cut it out.
The same goes for your business. You may have big dreams and grand plans for your business. But to get things going, you’ll want to trim that down to the most basic, workable form. A minimum viable product, as it’s called.
This is your starting point.
For both books and businesses, the launch is a big deal. You want as much momentum as possible. You need to make noise. After all, there’s a lot of competition out there. Finding your audience won’t be easy.
Work your connections. Promote yourself. Reach out to whoever will listen. Network. And don’t stop.
Now, this is the part where the book and the business get different. If you’ve put a book out there, it’s set in stone. You can’t revise and tweak and adjust as you learn from the market around you. For your business, however, the revisions continue.
You’re on a path of constant improvement.
Whether you’re just in the idea stage or your business is already out there and operating, I’d love to help you on your path. From simple business tips for success to full strategic planning, this website and my book Business is ART has the tools you need.