Weeknote 10: How not to be an entrepreneur

Badge on a jacket lapel with the words "Votes for women".

Guess where I was on Thursday.

Two things recently have made me think about how I do my job.

Surprisingly, an article titled How Basecamp Built a $100 Billion Business by Doing Less on Purpose turned out to be useful rather than clickbait.

I liked the subtitle even more: ‘Do not innovate. Do not grow. Do not exit. And do not be a startup.’

Because I run my own business, and get advice about business, and network with other business owners, I come up against a lot of received wisdom that doesn’t really chime with the way I approach things. The importance of growth, for example, or calling yourself an ‘entrepreneur’ or (my pet hate) having a ‘money mindset’.

The article focuses instead on things like a commitment to value, making a meaningful contribution and being sustainable. That’s the way I want to work, too. I probably won’t end up with a £100 million business, but I’ll be true to my values.

Equally thought-provoking was a Twitter chat I saw recently about copywriting. I was a bit shocked when someone said that they found it hard to write on demand, because deadlines don’t coincide with creativity. I was tempted to reply ‘Writing is a craft – get over yourself,’ but being snarky to strangers isn’t my style.

But it bugged me a bit. Isn’t meeting deadlines part of being a professional – just getting on with it and not waiting for the muse? But maybe I’m still a journalist at heart rather than a ‘writer’. A hack knows how to write to tight deadlines!

Of course there is a place for creativity in professional writing, but it comes from practice – not from waiting for inspiration to strike. So I was more impressed by the comments in the same chat about consistency and routine.

I have to admit, though, that when I’m writing for myself rather than a client the writing sometimes doesn’t happen. These weeknotes, for example, don’t appear every week. (And I have personal blogs for which the same is true.) It’s not that I am waiting to be inspired, more that I am waiting until I have something to say. Anyway, I’ve said it now, so that’s my note for this week.

In other news

I heard a sermon last week about ‘Doubting Thomas’ and it made me think about climate change. Thomas’s attitude to the resurrection was: I’ll believe it when I see it. That seems to be the way most people in this country have thought about climate change so far. But they are now seeing the effects, even here. Because of that, and because of the indefatigability of some activists, it feels as if the tide of opinion is turning. I hope that’s true.


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Posted in Freelancing, Writing