My husband is the COO of the family as well as for two companies. He is talented, focused and linear. I am the people he must deal with every day – a Creative. which in my case, means I am definitely NOT linear or detail oriented. I am big picture.
What does that mean? In business, if you are a creative CEO, if you’ve started up your company based on your brilliant idea and designs, the best way to ensure long term success is to turn the operations over to a team that is detail oriented, financially savvy and possess leadership qualities that you may or may not have. At first CEO make think, no, it’s my idea and I can manage everything about that idea because I’m brilliant, everyone says so. But that CEO is wrong.
If you are a Creative, what you are brilliant at doing is starting. What bores you to tears are strategy meetings to manage the fourth year growth. Creatives are the people who bring in partners and funding based on their crazy vision and compelling vision. Creatives are the ones who see possibilities and fill needs.
Creatives are not often accountants, or COOs or sales people.
My husband suffers a reoccurring nightmare during which I operate Quick Books or submit the paper work for our taxes. He should relax, I rarely touch Excel; I dislike hunting down numbers and capturing them with those little boxes, it’s such an upsetting activity (my own business numbers are mostly free range).
Writers are Creatives. In the past, writers were honored for their creativity and it was understood that other people, more talented people, would take care of marketing, sales and finances.
As you are well aware, the world of publishing tragically shifted and writers are now required to do it all. Even if we aren’t designing and printing our book, we still represent marketing, promotion and sales. But just because it is possible, doesn’t mean we are automatically good at it. The Internet and social media has not magically transformed Creatives into managers.
So what is the solution? As a writer, you can gather up a team, much in the same way as a new entrepreneur hires staff. Of course we don’t have the same financial advantages as someone with Kick Starter money. But we can create a team on a shoe string.
Shoe String Team
- Find a college student who may or may not be a close relative, and ask them to help with Social Media
- Trade editing with another writer – make sure the manuscript goes through two reviews: one for development and content and a final review for copy editing.
- Spend the money on editing.
- Hire or find a student for the design of your book cover.
- If you can, hire someone good at finances to set up a simple system to track sales that you understand and follow.
After trying to do it ourselves for ten years now, many of us realize that while we love writing and are good at it, the other aspects of business not only do not appeal, but because we don’t possess the basic skills or propensities, those tasks take too much time.
So start thinking about how you can find freelancers to serve as your team. There are countless resources on line (hire someone to find people to hire? Maybe that’s too much).
Writers/Creatives need to stop beating ourselves up for not being able to do it all.
We do not do it all, never did. We are unique and see the world differently, and if we do it right, we create enough work to be able to employ of all those poor people still trapping numbers and pinning them on sheets.
For additional information, check out The Value of An Author’s Assistant