Posted at 1 year ago in blog by M Lederman

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Stephen King is one of the most prolific writers who ever lived.

Over a career that spanned decades he produced 54 novels (including multiple thousand-page books) that have sold over 350 million copies worldwide. This output was achieved primarily in the throes of a severe addiction that would leave many incapacitated, let alone capable of reinventing the horror genre and cementing his legacy as one of the great writers of all time. With this resume it is no surprise that aspiring authors look to him as a wealth of advice on how to tap into a fraction of the creative output he has been able to muster. While Stephen could claim some sort of otherworldly talent or inspiration that has propelled him to success, his answer is much more inspiring. I’ll let him take over:

“Don’t wait for the muse. As I’ve said, he’s a hard-headed guy who’s not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon. or seven ’til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up.”

In the modern age of ultimate connectivity, creating content is paramount. Customers have come to expect not only some hard value up front, but a sense of the company that they are dealing with and the values they are bringing to the table. I believe all business owners with specialized knowledge should create their own content to be spread wide via the internet, but many get stopped for a few reasons:

  • They don’t think they are competent writers/content producers (What they actually say: I run a personal shop, I’m not about all that online stuff)
  • They can’t quantify the benefit and consider creative endeavours out of their domain (as opposed more arithmetic based drivers- X sales calls = X meetings = X closed deals)

Valuable content comes in many different forms, simply committing to producing it regularly will allow you to find your voice. Whether it’s writing, video, podcasting or any other medium the focus should be on transferring your experience-based knowledge in a way that someone can immediately implement.

Think about your business, what problem you solve for your customer, and the industry secrets you tell your buddies about to give them value or entertain them. The ultimate face to face business is a restaurant, and maybe you don’t aspire to be Anthony Bourdain, but the story of his rise to fame is an astounding case of how a simple relatable narrative can have a massive impact and sow the seeds to change your business (and your life). Who will enjoy or relate to your tips and stories? Potential customers or industry associations? How do you reach them?

Many old-school small business owners think of marketing as a wishy-washy expense and thus never give the process the respect it deserves. Sales is critical to business success; the ground level is where the money is made. But make no mistake, just one marketing concept that is well received by the masses will drive value for your business that no expert salesman alone ever could. As Mr. King points out, great creative is much more toil than talent. Don’t limit yourself.

Developing a craft takes time and persistence, and for many, a step outside your comfort zone. I challenge you to invest the time on a regular schedule and find your voice in this arena. The research says it’s worth it.