In 2018 my professional career followed two paths. On the creative side I continued my writing pursuits and published two novellas. On the traditional business side I started a consulting firm with my dad and brother.
Though I had two years more experience in writing, this felt like a year of growth for me — this felt more like the first year — more like I was truly getting my feet wet and building an audience.
On the consulting side I saw rapid growth and with that numerous avenues to explore and opportunities to expand the brand.
It left me asking why have customers resonated so much with a service driven business like consulting, one which requires an enormous amount of trust both ways and locks the individual in for a longer time commitment while my writing audience still hasn’t been defined.
It’s certainly cheaper to pick up a book, the relationship does not have to be as open and if one doesn’t like the writing they don’t even have to finish the using the product.
As I explored why my new business grew faster than my old business I realized I was sabotaging my growth in writing because I held myself to the standard of where I wanted to be — wanted to be Stephen King on page 1 and thought I had to follow the rules of how things have always been. I had to write a rough draft, edit it, send it to beta readers, get an editor, and this was all before sending it off to agents or publishers (if I wanted to go the traditional route).
My fastest growth in writing this year came from not over thinking and just doing it — realizing people want product. A book is a product like anything else. If it’s fiction it’s an emotional escape and the more I tried to be “perfect” the further from success I fell. A book doesn’t have to be perfect for someone to like the story and the less product I put out the less likely I was to find my fans.
When I put out my first novella this year, Third Life, I didn’t think it had much of a shot of going anywhere — it was 82 pages and a concept piece on consumerism and unsustainable advancement.
It didn’t become a best seller but it helped me find a few of my biggest fans who helped me launch Beds Are For Flowers which sold over 100 copies on its release day and reached #2 hottest new release in is category. Again, not a NYT best seller but it’s also a 139 page children’s book, which brought me new fans who now want product. Fans who never would’ve found me if I held back and let fear of not being perfect stop me from publishing.
Consulting on the other hand has been one leap after another. I have a background in economics, my brother and father have backgrounds in finance, but we didn’t see our business adapting as quickly as it has. We wanted to help startups — a couple months later we are in two cities, launched a podcast and youtube channel and have basically pushed all our fears and boundaries without a second thought. We’ve been excited to try new things and have been strong supporters of the “do it” and “learn on the go” mentality.
I’m very happy I learned this lesson in 2018. My friend Judi Fox says learning on the go means progress every day and she’s 100% right. As I face the end of 2018 and the start of 2019 I realize all those old sayings about being your own worst enemy are true. Don’t let fear of imperfection stop you because the minor bumps you feel are only felt on a road when you’re driving forward.