Friday, March 14, 2014

Books and Business Part I: What is a writer? Self-employed or a Business Owner?

If you build assets, they will come!
When I think about writing from a business perspective, I think about asset creation. Writing a novel, from the business perspective, is about creating an asset. I do a lot of things with my time, including several businesses and self-employment ventures. But one of the most important to me is being an author.

When you are employed, by a boss, or even by yourself. You are trading your time for dollars. And the amount of potential dollars you can earn is explicitly and irrevocably tied to the number of hours you have in a day. If you earn $10/hour you can never earn more than $240 in a day. Ever. As much of a terrible slave driver your boss is, if there is one thing not in his/her (or your--we can be our own worst bosses) power, its altering the Earth's rotation.

When you own a business you are in the business of asset creation. You may put a motherlode of time into it, and a crapton of money to boot, but your potential earnings are not tied to the Earth's rotation or punching a clock. You could wake up in the morning (or the afternoon), wander around the house in your PJs, shoot some stuff on a video game, and then tuck back into bed at night....and meanwhile have thousands of dollars just spilling like Niagara Falls into your bank account.

Now that scenario doesn't always work out. But there are risks in asset creation. And worse risks if you try to create an asset with your head up your asset (i.e.- know what the heck you are doing and you will increase your chances of creating a successful asset). That is why true entrepreneurs are always into something new, the more assets you create the more chance one of them will really hit it big.

So when I think about myself as an author and business person I never think of myself as self-employed. I think of myself as a business start up, with fresh new ideas and an eagerness to implement them. And when I consider where to put my time, with all the various business and self-employment ventures I am involved in, writing is one of those at the top of my list.

I can earn $25 an hour teaching people how to Tweet. Sounds great. Puts cash in my hand right here and now. I could fill my days with clients booked back to back and be making...at most $600 a day. But that's it, never any more than that. And likely a lot less, since who will book a lesson at 4 am, when will I sleep, and there are bound to be dry spells where I can't book a lesson to save my life.

I choose instead to limit my time teaching, and spend as much time as possible writing, creating assets, little money machines that are not capped by hourly wages.

Of course, writing is about a lot more than earning money. There are all kinds of emotional, artistic, deep, moving whazits involved in writing. But thinking about writing from the business perspective, this is just pure logic.

©2014 Amanda June Hagarty

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