How to think like an entrepreneur when you're a serious artiste

Even the most pretentious creative can benefit from business acumen

How to think like an entrepreneur when you're a serious artiste
Photo by Muzammil Soorma / Unsplash

You know who Stephen King is right?

You know who he is because he's in the business of Stephen King.

Yeah, he wrote all those horror books and a ton of stories.

You ever heard of Ramsay Campbell, Peter Straub, or T. E. D. Klein?

They wrote horror stories too. Good ones. Unless you're a fan of horror stories, you've never heard of them.

Even non-readers know who Stephen King is.

Chances are you know about King's stories because they got made into movies and kept King's name in the news.

He didn't get there because he wrote the best books. He didn't even get there by pigeonholing himself as a "writer".

If Stephen King acted like the people who call themselves "writers" in writers groups, online and offline, you'd never have heard of him.

He certainly wouldn't the the "King of Horror".

Whether he gave himself that name or not, it's a masterstroke of branding.

Lots of people can write as well or better. There are plenty of stories that are as entertaining, quirky, and terrifying.

There's only one King of Horror.

Stephen King may be a writer by trade and skill... but that's not the business he's in.

Writing stories and books was the starting point for the larger enterprise.

The real business is the brand. The personality, the IP, the publicity, the whole cultural event.

It's startling how many writers can't... and won't... see this.

Most beginning writers stay beginners, obsessing over craft, editing one book into mush, wasting time arguing about whether they should start an email list.

To get anywhere, in any activity, you've got to drop all that mess.

Think like an entrepreneur.

Find your goal and then do what it takes to get there.

Refuse to take "No" for an answer.

Here's three things that hardly any mopey Eeyore "writers" will ever do for their craft or their business.

1. Move fast

Motion beats meditation.
– Gary Halbert

Have you noticed how many people have no sense of urgency?

They know it needs to be done. Anything.

Even important things. Time-sensitive things.

They know it needs to get done.

So they watch Netflix for five hours instead.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is get into the habit of starting.

Not thinking, not asking questions on forums, not "researching".

Get started.


Do it.


2. Break stuff

Everybody's afraid to fail. But what if it doesn't work and people don't like it and I look dumb and...

The key part about fear of failure is that word "fear".

It's an emotional response. But here's the thing about us creative introverted types. We fear things that don't exist and haven't happened.

When you live in your imagination, you build up imaginary threats.

The frightening thing that causes the fear isn't real.

Fear of failure often looks more like unfocused anxiety. They're hard to tell apart.

That doesn't make it any less intimidating. The human mind doesn't discriminate between a real mugger pointing a gun at you and the imaginary mugger in your mind.

The thoughts you let in your head create your reality.

You want to know something cool? This isn't sham woo-woo stuff cribbed from self-help books. The eggheads discovered Maxwell Maltz and Napoleon Hill and brought the practice of mental imagery into the lab.

They call it episodic future thinking. But it's visualization, the same mental imagery techniques from Psycho-Cybernetics and Think and Grow Rich.

The Science isn't what it used to be, so maybe that doesn't convince you much. In that case, just go read Maltz and Hill instead.

Many of your fears and doubts are self-created. They have no basis in the facts of the world outside your mind.

You put them there, because you're surrounding yourself by the wrong people, reading off the wrong script, and pretty much locking yourself inside a mental prison of your own creation.

Play a better game.

... when the future self shares similarities with the present self, when it is viewed in vivid and realistic terms, and when it is seen in a positive light, people are more willing to make choices today that may benefit them at some point in the years to come.
"Imagining the near and far future: The role of location familiarity"

Procrastinators, the anxious, the Eeyores, and the depressed all have a poor ability to regulate their emotions. They show a poor imagination. They actually cannot imagine themselves and their futures with the same vividness and concreteness as healthy minds.

Better yet, when they practice vivid and concrete mental imagery, the emotional symptoms soften up or disappear.

Guard your mind and fill it with beautiful things.

You're only a failure in your own mind.

And this brings us right back to taking action.

People don't move because they believe the project's too big, that it can't be done, that it's going to be difficult and feel bad.

Fearing failure before you try is a mental prison of your own making. If you fail in your mind, you fail before you've taken the first step.

Take Harry Beckwith's advice:

Any idea might fail. If you're doing anything worthwhile at all, you'll suffer a dozen failures.

Expect to win, hate to lose, and get on with it.

I was going to stop here, but I had more to say about this. This last section is a bonus for members.