The Writer-Entrepreneur: Hunting Down a DIY Creative Business Education
In which Miriam Peskowitz falls in love with Copyblogger and ponders writing's financial middle ground. is where I turn for my informal entrepreneurial MBA. That’s right. When I decided to launch a new editorial services company (and more on that in the months ahead), I realized that I needed to devote about an hour a day to some informal education on all things marketing and business. The business side isn’t something I knew about, or studied in school. It certainly wasn’t any part of my handful of liberal arts degrees. By chance, someone had forwarded me a blog post from the site. In a quick minute, Copyblogger become my at-home, everything-you-need-to-know place to turn to learn things I didn’t know I didn’t know about. The Copyblogger mode is entrepreneurial, and creative. They’re bloggers--translation: writers, just like us--who are trying to figure out a business sensibility that works. Their shtick, if you will, is high quality blog content as the basis for building a business. One result: they and the extraordinary guest bloggers who post there offer free series on everything from Internet Marketing for Smart People to Affiliate Marketing to Blog and Website Design. Case in point: Today’s post by Pamela Wilson starts off with a fab description of a Bobby McFerrin concert, AND uses it to think about a transformation in her design company (and a few clicks leads to her 10-part free e-course, Design 101). What I connect with in the Copyblogger world is their sense that having creative values, and having decent human values, isn’t somehow the opposite of having some financial stability. They’re not the sleazy marketer type, they’re not the starving geek artists. They’re sketching out somewhere in between. And from a writer-entrepreneur perspective, that’s what I find interesting. One thing we struggle with is value. Most of us walk around in a frustrating conundrum: we give writing a high value, and we know that it isn’t always valued and compensated decently by those around us. Within the inherited sense that we creative types don’t deal with the economies of life, there’s quite a big chance to imagine ourselves and our work and its value differently. It is an act of imagination to sort out what our underlying expectations are, and switch them around. That’s good, because acts of imagination are what we writers are skilled at. This video from DK Publishing is an example of that creative, imaginative reversal, and I’ll end this column by sharing it, and of course--asking everyone what you think! Find the full-sized version here!

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  • Christina Brandon

    oooOOooo... I'm off to check out Copyblogger. Thanks for the link!

  • Julie Polk

    Hi Miriam -

    Thanks so much for the Copyblogger link! Looks amazing. In the swirl/whirlwind/vortex (those are the first three descriptors that come to mind) of trying to figure out what it means to be a writer/entrepreneur, it looks like a fantastic resource. I tweeted it when you first posted this earlier, as I think it looks enormously helpful, but wanted to let you know here as well. And yeah, that video is awesome. SO cool. Thanks!

  • Deborah Siegel Writing

    Wow - what a FASCINATING gimmick used in the DK video Miriam -- I was not expecting that. I won't ruin the surprise for others but I'll just say, talk about a reversal of perspective. And now, I'm off to Copyblogger so I can join you in MBA writerly entrepreneurship over here!

  • Miriam Peskowitz

    I agree. I think many of us find ourselves in that time-versus-money conundrum (Do I do it myself? Do I pay someone else). One way out of the bind is to know more about how to do different tasks and how to do them smartly. There are lots of "marketing experts" out there who know just a tad more than we do. If we're smart about knowing the field, we'll make better choices when we do hire people to do work on our behalf.

    I'd love to hear more about your studies. Tell us what you know!

  • Miranda C. Spencer

    Oh, the business side of this is so annoying! Sometimes I think about just hiring a marketing expert type person on commission and handing her a percentage of any work she gets for me. Good luck with that, but wish I could!

    That said, I am studying up on entrepreneurship too....