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Ownership of Your Work Matters; The Book of Prince

Ownership of Your Work Matters; The Book of Prince

Ownership is a thing I have preached for years now to my creator clients. Once you give away ownership of your creative work - whether it’s a script, a book manuscript, photographs, or music - then you have lost control. When you are a creator, who is likely a freelancer of a solopreneur, control and ownership are your two most important concepts.

There is a terrific article in the New Yorker about Prince (The Book of Prince by Dan Piepenbring), and this was something that Prince understood incredibly well.

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For someone who came up as a musician, working mostly in a collaborative environment, writing is a huge change in the way that I work. Usually there is a bass player or guitar player to lock in with, or a singer or keyboard player to contend with, but not when you are sitting behind a keyboard attempting to sting sentences and ideas together.

Writing is solitary. It is a blessing and a curse all at once. There’s no one to interact with creatively, until you have a manuscript done and show it to a trusted member of your inner circle. You have total freedom. That lack of structure certainly does not mesh well with all personality types. If you can’t sit down and put out 500 or 1,000 good words more or less at will, you are going to have a tough time producing anything of significance.

Even when the essay or opinion piece or book in this case is published….who the hell is reading it? You never know until someone sends a contact back to you in the form of a photo, or a text or a social media post that they picked up a copy. That is a good feeling.

Then the good feeling yields to worry. Worry that the work you have put into the project justifies that person’s time and investment.

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If you have decided to purchase my little survival guide, I am looking forward to hearing from you. What did you like? What should be expanded? What should be shortened? What challenges have you faced with your startup that you would like to see addressed?

In starting to think about prepping for the Second Edition which I am targeting for a Spring 2020 release, I have my own ideas about what new content will appear, but your perspective is always welcome, because after all, this book is for you!

Regrets? I've Had a Few....

This morning I stumbled across an interesting article that quoted a British study of 2,000 respondents regarding the macro issue of how they have lived their lives to date. The key takeaway from the article was that 40% of respondents, or approximately 800 of 2,000, regretted that they worked too much in their prior years.

Now here is a disclaimer: I haven’t read the source material for this article, so I’m relying on the author’s representation of the findings. Assuming for a moment that the conclusion is correct - 4 out of 10 people surveyed regret working too much - then that spurs a few questions:

The Shortest Distance Between Two Points, or How I Learned to Love Efficiency

The Shortest Distance Between Two Points, or How I Learned to Love Efficiency

I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.

-Mark Twain

This quote is one that stuck with me for quite a long time.  What's the punch line implied here?  Simply that editing, and revision, and the thought process of knowing what to eliminate and what to keep, is hard work.  It takes time and experience.  Anyone can write a 1,000 word essay, but can you convey the same content and message in 500 words?  That's the difference between an amateur and a professional.  Concision.

The other day I was sitting in my car looking at the odometer.  There are over 181,000 miles on my Nissan Pathfinder.  I bought it in summer 2013, pre-owned, of course with about 33,000 miles on it.  That means that in five years, I've traveled 148,000 miles in that lumbering beast of an SUV.   As much as I love that truck, averaging 29,600 miles per year is undesirable.  The mileage has been almost all business related, because when you are in a startup mode with a small law practice you have to hustle.  You drive to where the work is.  You make house calls.  You do the road work. 

Father’s Day, Teambuilding and Relationships

Father’s Day, Teambuilding and Relationships

Father’s Day always has a lot of meaning.  Our dads may still be with us, or maybe they have gone, but this day does hit everyone in a significant way.  

I have found in my travels that the Dad role is many times played by someone nontraditional.  Big brothers.  Uncles.  Stepdads.  Godfathers.  Family friends.  Single moms.  Teachers.  Coaches.  Life certainly isn’t always easy.  Not everyone has the traditional nuclear family.    Circumstance gives and circumstance takes away.  The important thing is that someone responsible is there to do as good a job as they can, to help bring the younger people up right. 

Check and Adjust

Check and Adjust

There is tremendous value in determination.  Focus is a virtue.  As with all things, too much of a good thing can be harmful. If you are intentionally unaware of your surroundings, you can miss out on opportunities to react to the marketplace.

No matter what our best intentions, no matter how well conceived our strategy is, things don't always go the way you hope or intend.  That's the way of the marketplace.  Do you keep grinding on an initiative that does not add value to your experience or your business?  The answer is no.  The wisdom that comes with experience lies in knowing when to pull the plug on certain initiatives, and when to stick.  This is an art more than a science.  

The Importance of Social Impact for Startups & Creators

The Importance of Social Impact for Startups & Creators

Defining your project's value proposition is a key part of your business strategy.  What's a value proposition?  Quite simply, your company's value proposition is a clear and concise statement of what your business does (product or service) and what problem that solves for the customer.  Stated another way, you are telling your audience: 1) what benefit you provide; 2) to whom you provide that benefit and 3) how you provide the benefit in a unique way that differentiates you from your competition. 

Yesterday, I read a great article about the importance of emphasizing the social impact of your business and how it can benefit you in three ways: 

Creators: Define Success First!

Recently, I had the good fortune to speak to a room full of young, aspiring entrepreneurs about my professional journey. I hoped to draw some parallels for them to follow, to the extent that those parallels could aid them.

The first part of the session was a 60 minute prepared talk about the initial hurdles that young startups face from a legal standpoint. Following the discussion, there was a question and answer segment, and I was asked the following question by the host:

“How long did it take you to achieve your success?”

This very question is asked of businesspeople all the time in interviews. It is a question that you really should answer with another question.

Thus, I responded to my counterpart: “How you define success?”