From sellable company to leading something

With Bitesize Irish Gaelic, I’ve gone full-circle. It started as a personable business. I then treated it as an entity that wouldn’t have me associated with it anywhere, in order to be able to sell it. I’ve come back to not being afraid of being part of what Bitesize is.

Pressfield and Godin

Steven Pressfield and Seth Godin have had a big impact on me, on understanding my own motivations.

Creativity in any form is an itch that should be scratched, and not buried.

Creativity for me is a wide topic. Writing this blog post is creativity for me. Something completely different could be creativity in your life. I find the human experience to be much more promising when you see it as a chance to create something from nothing, compared with directing a life aimed at maximizing luxury and pleasure.

Godin says that you can create for its own sake, you don’t need to make excuses.

Pressfield suggests you ask why your Muse chose you, instead of you choosing your muse.

From SOPs to creating something of value

I went through my “E-myth” stage with Bitesize. I believe the message that was in the book The E-Myth Revisited“: you can create a world-class company, even a single small business, if you step out of it and work on the business and treat it like a franchise.

Its author Michael Gerber himself is tuned into his creativity. His later book E-myth Mastery has its first half devoted to tapping back into your creative side. That book is a missing link with The War of Art by Pressfield.

My “E-myth stage” was about documenting what the company does into processes. It was about breaking the business up into “departments”, even if there were only one or two people involved.

There was value in this stage, for sure. There are four of us in the business part-time. Bitesize has a team running it now, with discussions, ideas, innovation, planning, strategy. Only a year ago, we had not met online all together at one time.

Making a sellable company?

So I went to my accountant, and asked if Bitesize was a sellable company. Could it be an asset that could employ several managers and a couple of more people producing content? The accountant’s answer was, No, but if it’s an entity that can justify itself money-wise, then why not keep with it.

Permission to be creative

This gave me permission, in a way, to step back into creating as part of the company. Just for example, I record a simple podcast every two weeks for Bitesize. If I was only creating something to be sold, there wouldn’t be any justification in doing this, as it would be just impossible to get someone else in to do the podcast instead of me. But I really enjoy the process, the act of creating something from nothing.

Community

We’re in the process of making a place for a community around Bitesize, because up until now our learners have really been learning alone, and have been crying out for a chance to practice their Irish language.

Rather than not being part of the community, I want to be able to experience it from the inside, to be a core part of the community. I’m OK with having my name as part of it (while at one stage I was considering to be unidentified entirely with the business and use a cartoon shamrock character to represent the business).

SOPs and team building have been valuable

David Allen, of the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology, argues that getting the simple and mundane in order in your life gives you room for higher-level creativity.

Working on SOPs and team structure has been highly valuable to Bitesize. At one stage I could never have imagined how someone else could be introduced to replying to emails for the business – now I can’t imagine not having Customer Support being led by someone else.

Creativity, for me, can be as simple as sitting down with a pencil, notebook (and maybe a whiskey?!), and sketching out ideas for parts of the business, to make it better for our customers. I remember doing the very same thing twenty years ago at school, drawing out ideas of what I could add to my “home page”. This simple muse has stuck with me for more than half of my life so far, so I think I better keep listening to this muse, and wondering why it chose me. What’s your muse, and why did it choose you?

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