Monday, January 10, 2011

Advice from a Business Entrepreneur

I'm not someone who devours business and financial news like I would a juicy piece of entertainment gossip (hello? Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are SO together dudes)but there is the occasional time when I've read through everything in the paper - or it's just a particularly slow news day - and I, for want of other reading material, happen to glance through the business section. Usually, it's the human interest pieces that catch my eye - the rags to riches stories or the personal profiles behind the CEO's of big companies. And so it was today when I came across one article about the CEO of WIND Mobile, Anthony Lacavera, who aims to 'change the wireless industry in Canada' and 'change and challenge the way Bell, Rogers and Telus do business'. As the article put it, "if you want to run with the big boys you have to create your own turning point".

Well, Mr. Lacavera is definitely running after the big boys and he has big dreams but what I found most interesting about the article was the advice he gave to people who have their own dreams and vision. I'm sure he thought he was speaking to potential business entrepreneurs but I found something really inspiring for my own writerly dreams and ambitions. And, hey, really, aren't all writers entrepreneurs? We may not be building a massive business empire (yet ;) but we want to build good books and, like any decent entrepreneur, we want to reach an audience. So, then, what was his advice?

1. Building a business has up and down moments. In down moments always try to focus on the things you've done that have led to the up moments.

(In the book publishing biz, it's always so easy to focus on what hasn't happened yet. Focus on what has developed - your skills, the people you've met, better responses from agents/editors, every little positive thing that has helped you be where you are and become a better writer than you were when you started)

2. Whenever you meet an extraordinary person, try to think of a way to make it exciting for them to join your team.

(I read this to mean when you meet an extraordinary writer (published or not), share and learn from each other. Become part of a writing community is essential.)

3.Learn not to go after every great idea that you come across. It's so important to stay focused on what you do well and build from there.

(Don't be too scattered as a writer. Be focussed on what stories you want to tell. Find your voice and the genre you love. Take the time to develop both well and both will reward you)

4. Always make time for yourself to do whatever you enjoy no matter how much work you have to do.

(This piece of advice is self-evident. Don't focus on the writing to the exclusion of all else in your life. Even if you don't consider writing work, take a break from it and explore other things. Your writing - and you as a person - will benefit.)

5.Follow both your heart and mind on any important decision.

(The go with your gut or your head dilemma. Mr. Lacavera has addressed this conundrum for me - go with both. No decision should be made so intellectually that your feelings/instincts are ignored. Both sides are equally important and have equal merit)

And there you have it. Sound advice from an entrepreneur with passion, commitment and drive to succeed - three things all writers should strive for. I should read the business sections more often...


  1. Wow! What a nugget of inspiration. I love the last one. Listening to both the heart and the mind equally. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Laura: Glad you found it inspirational. I know I need all the inspiration I can get!

  3. This is a great post, Nelsa. Thanks from Brenda

  4. Good stuff! For me, #3 is the most difficult. So many shiny ideas out there! It's tough not take off after them all.

  5. Hi Brenda! So glad you found the post helpful!

    Hi Linda: ooh. I know. It's so easy to stray, isn't it? But the only way to get better is to know your product, inside and out. But, like I say to the hubby when I pick up a magazine with Ryan Reynolds on the cover, "A girl can always look. Just don't touch!"