I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough…

September 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s the first Friday of my new plan to spend Fridays only writing. So far, I am not doing very well at this considering these are the first words I’ve actually written today and it’s already after noon. But now I’m just going to say that for today, I will spend the afternoon only writing and next week I will not fall for the laundry/e-mail/everything trap.

I keep wanting to sit down and tell you about the experience I had at an event called “Birth of a Book!” at the University of Minnesota. I know I already mentioned attending this event, but what I didn’t get to tell you about was how useful it was to me. Not because the author told me the secret to getting my book published. More because by listening to her, I realized that there isn’t really one single secret.

The author, Barbara Joosse who wrote Higgledy- Piggledy Chicks came up and introduced herself to me before the event. Right away, I felt her “authenticity”. This is a trait I admire so much. I mean, it’s kind of hard to resist someone who is just happy being exactly who they are.  Try resisting them. You can’t.

In business, there is this thing called a Sustainable Competitive Advantage which is basically just “the thing” that makes your business extremely difficult to replicate. The trick to getting a sustainable competitive advantage is to pick something and then base every future business decision on whether or not it lines up.

Sometimes, this thing is mushy, like “friendliness” and sometimes it’s concrete, like “on time.” Whatever it is, “all” you have to do is reinforce it. (What would be the friendliest way to deliver an invoice? What would be the friendliest way to make a sale? Etc.)

The best part about having a solid sustainable competitive advantage is that anyone who tries to copy you looks like a tool. For example, just think about a business that is always “right on time” trying to compete by being very friendly. To be on time, they might have trained all their sales people to be blunt. And sometimes being blunt isn’t that friendly. So then they try to change their sales people to be friendly but then the box gets shipped without a nice note. And no note is NOT friendly. See how tricky it can get?

That’s why it’s important to figure out your thing and then go with it. In business…but…also…in life! OMG. This couldn’t be more obvious I guess. But it also couldn’t be more true. And especially true if you are trying to sell a certain children’s book that only you can write.

Ironically, after figuring this out, I still wanted to know exactly how Ms. Joosse develops her books, what she thinks about when she writes and basically why she did every single thing she did. At one point, she told us she writes all day every day and I felt completely discouraged because I don’t write all day every single day.

But then I realized that luckily, I don’t write all day every single day!  Otherwise how could I write the book that has been written by a woman who writes as much as she can and also plays with her baby boy and spends time with her husband and works on tough business problems and eats organic vegetables? I couldn’t. Because SHE doesn’t write all day every single day. 

See how awesome this is?

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