I can’t believe I’ve never blogged about this here, but I seriously haven’t. The TL;DR is that I wrote a book, and it’s called Punk Rock Entrepreneur. If you want, you can run off and buy it right now.
The slightly longer version is that way back in 2013, I gave a talk at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest in Cleveland called “How Punk Rock Made Me a Better Entrepreneur.” If you have 40ish minutes, the link is to a video of it. I realized that basically everything I knew about starting and running a business, I learned from the DIY punk scene. If my friends had an idea for a project – a zine, an ad hoc art space, a new band or a tour – they made it happen. I pitched it as a talk for the conference, and they went for it.
Now, when I write a conference talk, I have a particular method. Which is that I basically just write an essay first, so that I can figure out how long it’ll take me to actually say it out loud. Then I practice it a bunch and figure out enough bullet points to keep me from going off on a tangent. Anyway, this meant that while it wasn’t a word for word transcript, I did have a written version that was pretty damn close, and I posted it. A surprising number of people read it. Some folks suggested that I write a book, and I thought about it, a lot. For months. When I was pretty sure I had enough additional content to fill a book, I started pitching it to publishers, and partnered with Microcosm to actually do the thing.
I told them that I couldn’t start writing it until after I was done with a conference talk for DARE in London, because my brain can only hold so much stuff in it, and they were cool with that. So the 1st of October, I started making outlines and pulling together all the research and writing that had been cut from the original conference talk for time. On the 15th of October, I found out I was pregnant. Which meant my deadline to finish writing was moved up to the following June, when I was due, because newborns are notoriously unforgiving with their schedules.
I finished writing it in May, and most of the editing and illustrations (because I’m a chronic overachiever I went ahead and did the cover art and interior illustrations and chapter headings for it, too) happened after I was back from maternity leave. Last September, it became a real book, you can buy it on Amazon and everything.
I’m super proud of this thing, in part because it’s a lot of work to produce a book. But also because I’ve been able to talk to folks who found it helpful. I’ve gotten really annoyed by some of the advice that’s thrown around in these kind of books, that I feel like only apply to you if you’ve got a trust fund, or if you get lucky in the exact same way the author did, and I tried REALLY hard to stay away from giving that advice here (there’s no chapter on following your passion, but there is one on using your whole ass).
If you have an idea for a business, or you’ve already started one and feel like you’re hitting roadblocks in getting it off the ground, this might be a great book for you. Actually the back cover even has a handy flowchart so that you can see if this book is right for you. If you landed on a yes, you can order it from Microcosm. Or if you’re looking for a bundle, (say, you want a book and a t-shirt or poster) you can also buy it through my shop. And if you have any questions, about the book or about your business, get in touch!
One more thing – if you’re interested in having me come and speak at your conference, makerspace, meetup, university, etc., you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Same if you’re interested in doing an interview or review for your podcast, zine, or blog. Basically no matter what you need to get a hold of me for, it’s the same contact info. Here’s a short list of interviews and talks I’ve done in the past:
Burnout and the Cult of Busy: Refresh Pittsburgh 2017, Podcamp Pittsburgh 2016, Open Source & Feelings Seattle 2016.
Get Some Perspective: Midwest UX, Louiville, 2016
Deconstructing your Excuses: Dare Conference London, 2014
Punk Rock Entrepreneur: WMC Fest Cleveland, 2013
Podcasts: Room to Breathe, Time To Speak. Go Media Podcast.
Interviews: Employing a Visual Medium to Express an Audible Art: Dribbble blog
Start Making Stuff and Keep Making Stuff: Everyday Designer
If you’re interested in more of my opinions and writing, pick up Punk Rock Entrepreneur!