Oh, hello there. Here I am, finally writing a blog post, nearly two months after I launched my website. You know, the website for my, ahem, writing business. I’m a writer. I swear.
Here’s the thing, though: I’ve been busy. Which is wonderful. I’m a big believer in the general idea behind this little gem:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
- W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalaya Expedition
As an entrepreneur, while the mountains I climb are metaphorical, they still require commitment. Not to mention a sherpa or two. In this case, as soon as I got organized and moved forward with things like my portfolio, more work came my way, and I was “too busy”. That’s how it always seems to happen, in fact. But you gotta keep moving, that’s the ticket. And that’s what this blog post is about. Let me tell you a little story about Unconventional Ink…
About this time last year, I got bitch slapped by a certain redhead. (You should go read the post, and then troll around Erika’s site because The Redhead keeps it real, yo, and we could all use a heaping cup of keepin’ it real every now and again). Anyway, that post, combined with a lot of other factors, made it clear to me that it was time to grow up and go beyond “freelancer”. It was time to mobilize.
Luckily, I share work space with a bunch of other independent creative professionals who are at any given moment going through some of the same throes and thrills that I am as a business owner (NOT a “freelancer”, dammit). At the time, one of them was my friend Sarah Jane, who was also interested in mobilizing her own business. We decided to be accountable to one another and began what we lovingly called the “Big Girl Pants Project”. Every other week or so, we sat down together and worked on tasks that would propel our respective businesses forward. There were spreadsheets. A good deal of cursing was involved. Camel toes were mentioned from time to time, because sometimes your Big Girl Pants aren’t real comfortable. But, in the first three months, I managed to research, name Unconventional Ink, register the business entity, score the domain name, have a logo and business cards designed (my friends at Cohere even helped me name the octopus in my logo: Octavia), and then … I got stuck.
The problem was that the web design was going to take a while. And cost some money. And require some significant time and content from me. And it was Christmas, and I was distracted, and I didn’t want to print the business cards until the website was done, and blah, blah, blah, thpppt. I basically opened a door in the Universe, yelled ‘yoo-hoo!’, then let the ideas and intention float around up there in the atmosphere. Big mistake.
Slow-forward to late spring of 2011. I finally decide to get moving again, and I start picking at the BGP Project list. Behold: the task marked “secure Facebook URL” was next. And the result yielded more cursing, ultimately. If you’re not in the know on this, if you want to grab the ‘vanity’ URL for Facebook – in this case, www.facebook.com/unconventionalink – you need to have 25 people go like your page. Well, guess what? In the months that I was waiting on getting the website done, someone else had scored UnConventional Ink on Facebook. And there was nothing I could do but keep plugging along. Sigh.
So here’s what happened next (eventually): I finally launched the website. I picked a Facebook URL which kind of made sense (“unconventionink”, which is what I had to use for my Twitter handle because the full name is too many characters – another wedgie from the Big Girl Pants). And I attracted the attention of the owner of the UnConventional Ink Facebook page, who was surely saying some curses of her own.
Now here’s where it gets really good: instead of freaking out and getting all lawyer-y and pulling hair and gnashing teeth, the owner of the other UnConventional Ink (her name is Michelle, and she likes the uppercase ‘C’, by the way) and I decided to do something, well, unconventional. We decided to chat. And we decided to collaborate. Turns out that she lives in Kansas, and does some graphic design work (which I sure don’t) and looks to source out writing (hey, I do that!) She is young and creative and just getting started in business, and it turned out that the Big Girl Pants – or at least the information gleaned from trying them on – could be shared, which I was happy to do. I’ve created a business or two before, and I could share my experience. We talked about setting up domain names and how and whether to register as an LLC, and basically, exchanged high fives for having good taste in names. And then decided to send work to each other when it makes sense.
Having the same terrific idea as someone else happens all the time, mind you. I see it in my line of work constantly, and warn my clients to be aware of it and do their homework before they get too far down the path. However, as my friend and attorney Kevin Houchin points out, it doesn’t always end up this amicably and awesomely. Yay for unconventional thinking. Yay for cooperation vs. competition.
My parting advice to you, dear readers? Not to mention my advice to myself? When you feel that jolt of inspiration, when the light bulb goes on, you best shake a tailfeather. Take action. Because I believe that ideas don’t come from us, not really. They exist out there and are waiting to find a channel, and if you aren’t going to get in gear when they arrive, someone else surely will. I picture the whole creative plane as a kind of call center. You can hit the hold button on your headset, but the phone’s gonna keep ringing, and other operators are standing by.
I’m going to blog when the ideas strike, even if they’re a little ill-formed. I’m going to keep my pants on. Fire. And I’m going to keep writing about unconventional thinking, because that’s my favorite kind.