Ever heard of Catch-22? In Joseph Heller’s novel of the same name it was a crafty military rule: fighter pilots didn’t have to fly missions if they were crazy, but if they tried to get out of flying missions by saying they were crazy, that proved they were sane, because only crazy people would want to fly missions, which meant they had to keep on flying missions.
And you might feel the same frustration: you know that writing a book would transform your visibility and help you reach more and better clients and move your business in the direction you want to travel, but you’re so busy working in your business day to day that you haven’t got time to write it, so you stay stuck. This is the business book Catch-22: the best business books are written by business people, but they’re too busy being business people to write books.
But you’re not a fighter pilot – thankfully – and there’s a simple way of cutting through this particular catch-22: stop seeing your book as a side project that’s distracting you from your business, taking your time away from the business development work that you need to do, and see it instead as something that’s embedded right in the heart of your business. If you let it, a book can become the golden thread that brings together four crucial aspects of business growth:
• Developing yourself – personally and professionally, deepening your thinking and getting clarity on what’s distinctive about your approach.
• Developing your network – not just potential clients, but potential partners and influencers as well.
• Developing your platform – your visibility and reputation in the world.
• Developing your business – the products and services you’re putting out and which are earning revenue for you.
That might sound simple, but it’s a fundamental shift in the way you look at writing a book: it turns it from a nice-to-have, the thing you do when you have time – which let’s face it is NEVER – to the One Thing that’s the focus of growing your business.
There are lots of bonuses to this approach too: you’ll write a more useful book, for a start, because it will reflect the day-to-day reality of the people you’re writing for, your clients. Every conversation you have can provide a story or a new insight, and every bit of research and thinking you do for your book feeds straight back into your practice.
It can also transform your content marketing strategy. If you’re already blogging, emailing your list, tweeting, writing articles etc etc it can start to feel like a real chore. But plan it right, and your book can provide you with superb content across multiple platforms for months, and help you build the platform from which you’ll launch the book along the way. You’ll never have blogger’s block again.
(And if you think this doesn’t apply to you because you’re not spending time creating content, think again. Content marketing isn’t some fad, it’s a needed-to-play for every business. Good content makes you more discoverable online and allows potential clients to build a relationship with you before they’ve even met you: they read what you write and learn to like and trust you, which is the basic prerequisite for spending money with you. People buy people, and in the online world people get to know people by the content they’re putting out there.)
But what about building your network? When you’re writing a book, you have the perfect excuse to connect with the people you can currently only dream of reaching. When you approach someone because you’re researching a book on a topic that they care about, it’s a totally different conversation to reaching out with a sales pitch. And people are more willing to give you access to THEIR network when you’re bringing something interesting to the party.
So when you put your book at the centre of your business rather than keeping it as a side project, instead of dividing your time between your business and your book, it becomes a force multiplier. Once you have that core central focus, you can use the research and the writing of your book to develop every aspect of your business and transform how you show up in the world.
That’s our philosophy at Practical Inspiration Publishing. You can find more practical inspiration in The Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast and Facebook community. If you want to write a business book but think you haven’t got time, think again.