Fixing the Problem

What problem does your business solve?

My friend Jolain told me that when she started her clothing line years ago, her goal was simply to make beautiful clothes. She said that wasn’t enough.

“A business has to solve a problem,” Jolain said.

When Kelly and I launched our new biz, we figured offering first-class writing workshops at non-luxury prices would answer a writer’s problem.

A writer’s challenge includes the need to:

  • be a part of a community
  • get published
  • find a sanctuary for dangerous writing
  • make time for writing
  • nurture creativity and beauty in a society that overlooks the arts.

Our biz does all that.

We use Field Notes to keep score when we play cards.

This morning I listened to a podcast about traveling salesmen (at Field Notes Brand, a company my brother co-founded). Ron Solberg praises the tenacity and brilliance of the early traveling salespeople who often sold books. And the customers appreciated how the salesmen delivered news, as well as products. They liked the free samples.

“The trick really was volume, the number of stops you make,” Solberg said.

And more winning advice: “Take advantage of the moment.”

In a sense, when I started the biz, I wanted to make and nurture beautiful writing the same way Jolain wanted to make beautiful clothing. But I am learning to sell as well as to create.

As a small business owner, I need to sustain my biz, so I must do both sales and art. And for both, I need to value beauty, tenacity, hard work, and being in the moment.

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Blogs to Follow

I’m humble. I don’t want to brag about our awesome upcoming writing workshops. (Yes, Kelly Wallace and I are leading some workshops on blogging.) But let me brag or blog about my friends’ blogs.

Blogging is about sharing the wealth of your knowledge. I wish more of my friends would blog because it’s fun. I like finding out what my friends are thinking. Here are three recommendations from some of my besties. And these are my friends IRL (in real life!).

Kelly’s blog – check out her recent post on forgiveness. She says, in considering forgiveness and remembering some childhood shit, “Right now things are a little like my morning run: muddy.”

Linda Bloom’s blog – Linda’s an emptynester so check out her take on how Modern Family depicts the college years.

Jolain’s blog – Jolain comments on fashion. She does all the artwork herself. I love her drawings.

My friends are creative geniuses.

Jolain Bowen illustrates her fashion blog

They have stories to tell and pictures to share. They have opinions I value.

For a while, my friend Dan posted on a blog about everything he ate. It was interesting because I never realized he ate so many sardines. It got me interested in eating sardines.

Dan discovered one secret to getting readers to check out your blog — mention chocolate (not sardines!). I will try to gain readers by bragging about my friends’ blogs. And I will resort to chocolate if necessary.