The three steps of building an organization: Dream/Wet, What now?, Sitting in the crow’s nest


In the beginning it was all ocean. We start organizations in a fluid place with ideas, dreams, we feel excitement, like the beginning of life, of love affairs.  It is all dream wide open, risk taking, jumping in, holding nothing back, crazy wild, saying yes, we can do that, yes. That too.

Then there’s the middle. You look around. See there’s nothing in your bank account. You remember, yes, after you fell in love and rushed to London, and then you ate out, and you lay around the sheets first crispy then damp, you slept in, you might lose your job or maybe not. Maybe they will see the glow of you and want to have you around. But there is no doubt, you are in debt, you have no money in your bank account, and it is cold in your part of the world. And your organization is very young, your love affair very fragile and there is no one yet to say, wow, yes, keep going. In fact, they wonder what the hell you are doing and when you are going to grow up.  Why did you start Red Hen Press in the first place? Why didn’t you get a tenure track job somewhere solid like Boise, Idaho? And you don’t have any answers. You wanted to do something big, be a gamer, a choreographer, a director, a conductor, you didn’t know that the book world, the band world, the game world would take bites out of you.

You get to the sustainable level.  If you’re doing something like gaming, theatre, dancing, you have a tribe built in and hopefully that tribe is cheering for you. Hopefully your tribe feels your pain, they support your getting some training, making reasonable decisions for the future, thinking about sustainability.  If you are doing something like indie publishing, or writing, it’s like living in the crow’s nest of a sailing ship.  Mostly it’s wet, mostly you get too much rain, too much sun.  And it keeps feeling like the mast will tip over and dump you into the ocean. Remember the plus side, you’ve got a great view up there, and even when seagulls shit on you, you’re seeing the world first, even the bird shit, and up there, you must be very close to the face of God.

Published in: on June 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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