By k | July 1, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

It’s summer.
Friday is July 4th, a holiday.
The average employee in a large corporation
is trying to finish the tasks already on her desk.
She wants to leave early
EVERY day.
She isn’t thinking about new opportunities.
She certainly isn’t hustling for business.

(I know.
I was once this employee.)

Lucky her, right?
No.
Lucky YOU.

You have first dibs
on all of the business opportunities this week.
And there WILL be business opportunities.
Emergencies arise.
Reporters still need quotes for their articles.
Shit happens.
The world doesn’t stop turning
because Friday is a holiday.

I’ve already benefited from this corporate laziness.
A reporter contacted all of the better selling writers
at one of my large publishers.
They were ‘on vacation.’
(or rather, their assistants were)
I wasn’t.
I snagged the spot.
These better selling writers didn’t.

Take advantage of the corporate lethargy
this week.

By k | June 26, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Yes, you read the headline right.
Can you afford to pay your employees
the lowest legal wage?

Companies like Walmart or McDonald’s
compete on price.
They seek to pay their employees
the minimum
because their customers’ primary concern
is getting the lowest price.

You and I can’t supply the lowest price.
In my business
(romance novels),
the lowest price is free.
I can’t give all of my stories away
and make a profit.
I’d be surprised if you,
as a small to mid-sized business owner,
could offer a lower price
than the Goliaths in your industry.

That’s not why our customers buy from us.
They expect service,
individual attention,
special treatment.
Is a minimum wage earning employee
going to give them this treatment?


As Rick Newman
shares

“A well-known 2006 study
by Wayne F. Cascio
comparing Costco’s business practices
to those of Sam’s Club
— which aggressively works to keep wages
and labor costs as low as possible —
found “Costco’s productive workforce
more than offset its higher costs.”

Yes, keep employee costs low
but realize that too low has a cost to it also.

By k | June 22, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Writers with publishers
are paid in normally two ways
- royalties
(they receive a % of every sale)
or
advances on royalties
(which is exactly that,
an advance representing a portion
of what the publisher thinks
the total royalties will be).

Some writers want to leave
their publishers
and self publish
but they’ve already spent their advances
and they can’t wait
for their self publishing venture
to pay.
They’re stuck.

And that’s one of the problems
with playing with other people’s money.
It can give these other people a control
over your business.

Mike Michalowicz
shares

“Grow Your Business by Raising Money
The reason this piece of advice is a flop
is because it suggests that raising money
—in and of itself—
is the end result,
rather than a means to an end.
While there may be times
when you need an infusion of cash
to accomplish a goal,
the mistake is in making raising money
your primary objective.
Investors want to bet on success,
and the real value of a company
isn’t how much cash it can raise
but how much good, successful work’s being done.
Don’t spend your time
chasing other people’s money
(which is far too easy to spend).
Instead, spend your efforts
earning your own money.”

Be VERY careful with other people’s money.

By k | June 19, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Why would anyone self-fund a start up
when they have access to investors?

Noa Santos,
co-founder of
Homepolish
shares

“We did try to talk to investors early on.
Ultimately, they were concerned with
our ability to scale.
We knew we could do it,
so we built it organically.

Now we have investors calling us
every couple days.
We are constantly juggling
whether to scale organically
or take outside funding.

Of course,
there are things we could do
with a lot of money,
but—on the flipside—
the mistakes we’ve made
in the last few years,
we’ve been able to make cheaply.
If we had money,
they would have been more expensive mistakes.
We are going to stay self-funded
as long as we can.”

Self-funding gives entrepreneurs freedom
and the ability to make their mistakes
on a smaller scale
while growing.

Consider self-funding
your start up.

By k | June 18, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’ve worked hundreds of different jobs
(I’ve been working multiple jobs
since I could walk).
Were they dream jobs?
Of course not.

Is my current job as a writer
and entrepreneur
filled only with tasks I love?
No.

Did I find happiness in these jobs?
Yes.
Because happiness is a choice
and I choose to be happy.

Why?
Because being unhappy doesn’t change
the job I have to do.
It doesn’t make the job easier.
It might actually make it more difficult.

So why would I choose unhappiness?
I wouldn’t.

You have a choice
to be happy or unhappy
in your current role.
Choose happiness.
(and YES,
it IS as simple as that)

By k | June 17, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I was approached to join
a group of writers “serious”
about promo.

For an entire week,
they’ve been talking online
about their kids
and their day jobs
and the weather,
everything except promo.

I scan the emails
but I don’t reply.
I don’t have time for small talk.
Two solid selling writers
have already dropped
this “serious” about promo group.
They don’t have time for small talk either.

Doers DO.
They don’t talk about doing.
They get sh*t done.

If you want to attract doers,
eliminate the small talk
as much as possible.
We’ll learn about each other
as we tackle projects.
Give us tasks.
Now.

By k | June 7, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Elina Furman,
co-founder of Pley,
a subscription service
for kids who love LEGOs,
shares

“I think “sharing” will be as commonplace
as social media in two years.
In 10 years,
it will be how people
consume and interact
with the world.
Kids are setting us up for that
—they are learning it first.
It is our new paradigm.”

What is sharing?

Her company is an example.
Parents share Lego sets,
using Pley as a conduit
(and a sanitizer).

Zipcar is another example.
Members share car ownership,
again with Zipcar as the conduit.

As ‘mine’ is
one of the first words
children learn,
I don’t think the owning culture
is going away
any time soon
but both can certainly coexist.

Consider servicing the sharing community.

By k | June 5, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A study from
The Brookings Institution
states that
startups have been in steady decline
from the late 1970s.

“Whatever the reason,
older and larger businesses are doing better
relative to younger and smaller ones.
Firms and individuals appear
to be more risk averse …
and fewer people are launching firms.”

I agree with
the American Express Open experts,
calling bullsh*t on this study.

I personally know of
THOUSANDS of start ups
last year alone.
Almost every romance writer I’ve met
is self-publishing.
They’re producing, marketing, selling
a product.
Some of these writers are making millions.

Yet they don’t consider themselves
entrepreneurs or businesses.
Writers are often grouped with contractors,
even though they’re selling products,
not services.

I suspect bloggers, youtube celebrities,
and other media mavens
weren’t considered entrepreneurs either.
When was the last time
you met a 20 something
WITHOUT a social media presence
and a dream for leveraging
that influence?

Entrepreneurship might not look like it did
a decade ago
but it is alive and well.

By k | June 4, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Seth Godin has a great post
on how being the cheapest option
isn’t the positioning
you wish for your product.

“Every great brand
(even those with low prices)
is known for something other than
how cheap they are.

Henry Ford earned his early success
by using the ideas of mass production
and interchangeable parts
in a magnificent race
to the most efficient
car manufacturing system ever.
But then, he and his team learned that
people didn’t actually want the cheapest car.
They wanted a car
they could be proud of,
they wanted a car
that was a bit safer,
a bit more stylish,
a car built by people
who earned a wage
that made them contributors
to the community.”

The race to the lowest price
in romance eBooks
has already reached zero.
Writers can’t be the lowest price player.
They can merely tie for that spot
with THOUSANDS of other writers.

Eventually, your industry will look the same.
The lowest price might not be free
but it will be zero profit.

Price can’t be your competitive advantage,
not in the long run.
Work on some other competitive difference.

By k | June 1, 2014 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

As a writer and an entrepreneur,
I hear the word real a LOT.
When are you going back
to working a REAL job?
When are you writing
a REAL book?
When will you make
a REAL difference in the world?

These questions imply
that I’m doing the opposite,
that I’m busy working an IMAGINARY job,
writing my IMAGINARY books,
making an IMAGINARY difference in the world.

When the response is phrased like this,
even the people asking these questions
realize they’re being ridiculous.

Jonathan Bush,
CEO and Co-Founder of
athenahealth,
faced the same questions
when starting his business.
Advising his younger self,
he’d share

“That is a real thing,
I would tell myself.
Everyone says they need a real job,
but you can define
what is real and worthy.”

Everything you do is real.