If you’re a writer, and specifically, a self-published writer, you’re a business owner. You’re probably already a pretty good writer, but perhaps less experienced with running a small business. One of the leading causes of small business failure can be traced right back to the decisions business owners make about how to spend their most valuable resource: time.
If a business owner makes $208,000 per year, he or she makes $100 per hour on a forty-hour week. She may make that kind of money because he’s very good at selling the company’s product to customers. Or maybe he’s great at maintaining and building client relationships. Or negotiating deals. Whatever the specific tasks, certain things the owner can do are more valuable and bring in more money to the business than anything else.
Business owners are entrepreneurs. They are confident in their abilities to do things themselves. It’s all to common to see that $100 per hour owner spend four hours installing the latest software upgrade on his laptop or run to the office supply store to buy new pens. These are things a ten or fifteen dollar per hour assistant could do with ease, freeing the business owner to focus on high return activities.
Unless you’re Hugh Howey, or one of a small group of highly successful indie authors, you’re probably not making $100 per hour writing just yet, but the general concept still applies. What is the highest and best use of your time? If you feel driven to write and publish a book, or to become a professional author, is your time better spent writing, or figuring out how to build a professional-looking website? Writing, or learning Photoshop? Writing, or setting up MailChimp for the first time?
My favorite writing advice came from Stephen King in his book, “On Writing,” where he advised simply, “Write a lot and read a lot.” If we asked him today, it’s doubtful that he’d amend his advice to include, “and learn how to format your eBooks.” If you want build and indie writing career, one of the best things you can do would be to focus on the high-return activities of writing and reading and push most of the rest out of the way.
Just like a successful small business owner.