I have been tackling a scary animal as of late: Financial Projections for Reid Miller, specifically planning out how the made to measure work is likely to grow. In practice this is just me, my numbers, experience, data and spreadsheets. No problem, right? Some days yes, but much of the time it feels like a giant deadly animal is on my heels. (To be clear this is not connected with what the numbers are saying, just the process). And it got me wondering what is so scary about financial planning for our endeavors? Why is it so stressful?
And I was thinking about the creative entrepreneurial path. I have previously written about growing up absorbing the message that creativity is not valuable. And nowadays it seems like we are hearing more and more about embracing creativity, living you authentic life, create the work you love etc. etc. Maybe you have also absorbed all the spiritual messages about the magic that happens when you take risks for your dream and make a commitment to make it happen. But then there is this gap. Hoping, imagining, dreaming, and believing in it is not sufficient. No matter how big and beautiful or revolutionary or intriguing your business concept or creative dream you have to take smart, practical well-executed and often tedious steps to manifest your idea.
And there’s the gap. After hearing that creativity is not valuable and then having the Seth Godin’s, Brene Brown’s, Elizabeth Gilbert’s tell us it is, maybe we are pushed to pursuit our dreams. But deep down we need to reconcile our understanding about the value of what we are creating. We need to take that design company, or podcast, or landscaping business or whatever and put it into an excel sheet and start making the decisions about how we will grow it. Not in our imaginations. In the real world. Where people spend money and there are advertising budgets.
And the individual steps: tracking the expenses, doing the market research, collating it all in excel – aren’t actually that difficult. I am concluding that it is taking our value seriously that is so scary. Really embracing the idea that people want what you have to offer. That with smart decision making, super stealth strategy and a lot of hard work there may be real growth. And that growth will be because of the appeal of your novel vision, a lot of hard work and dedication.
So it seems that there needs to be another wave of assistance to follow the calls from the big authors mentioned above: smart everyday skills to build the structures that will support the birth of your dream, digest and understand the value of what you are offering, appropriate for the person who is in the early years. Expense tracking, practical tools that make data accessible for decision making, financial planning/business plans. And yes I realize that we can “google” all these things. But what would happen if there were real supportive structures, communities to share blocks with you to build your foundation, get the walls in the right place, install your dashboard. Perhaps it is not a dazzling lecture or page turner that has you jumping out of your seat to begin your travel writing career, but instead the tools to one day at a time build a business that moves past your imagination out into the living breathing world.