Have you heard the one about the author who walked into a pizza place and ordered Chinese food? Well, if not, you will want to stick around because if you are making this mistake, you definitely want to stop! But before I explain, I’m going to share a little bit about my birth story.
Birthing a business is a lot like birthing a baby, so understanding how I learned this critical business lesson is key to avoiding this business-killing mistake which over 80% of authors make.
I promise even if you haven’t birthed a baby, or don’t like talking about medical stuff, this is a story you need to hear – I promise not to be gross or graphic!
I was a What To Expect When You Are Expecting kinda girl when I got pregnant – and I stayed that way up to about 36 of the 41 weeks of my pregnancy.
I followed the book.
Followed the rules.
Did the hospital tour.
And just wanted the baby to come out with as little effort as possible.
I was confident the medical pros at the hospital knew the best way. I’d heard about natural births – and that, for sure – was not for me.
This is when I realized I had accidently walked into a pizza place and asked for Chinese food.
A couple weeks before my baby was born, my OB wanted to do a check on my dilation. I didn’t give it a moment’s thought when I consented. She asked, like a good doctor and I said yes, like a good patient. It was extremely painful. When my doctor mentioned she’d be doing this every week until the baby was born, I wanted to know more about the procedure.
I came home from the doctor’s and read every website I could find. Then I ordered every book on the topic. The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth; Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth; Birthing from Within – I scooped them all up and devoured them over the next week’s appointment.
Armed with new information, I walked into my OB’s exam room and explained politely that this week I would be declining the dilation check.
Her face filled with rage: “If you want a natural birth, go hug a tree!” she yelled as she walked out of the room and slammed the door.
Tears streamed down my face as I drove home. I most certainly did not want a natural birth! I just didn’t want that dumb, painful exam. And I did not see the connection. Why couldn’t I have a regular, modern birth like my sisters and everyone else I knew AND not have that particular check? What did that procedure have to do with hugging a tree? I was definitely not a tree hugger!
I went back to Google in search of someone who could help explain what happened to me in that doctor’s office and I met a woman who would change my life.
Mik was a birth doula (look it up! It’s a thing) and she explained that I had accidently walked into a pizza place and asked for Chinese food. Then I was shocked when the kitchen refused to deliver my chow mein!
My OB was from the world of Medicalized Birth – They are amazing at making PIZZA. They can deliver a medical procedure like a Napolitano can deliver a chewy wood-fired pizza. 100% satisfaction guaranteed.
But this land of informed-consent and refusing procedures? This was from the natural, normal, non-medicalized, my-body-was-meant-to-deliver-babies world. The natural birth world is amazing at making Chinese food. They can deliver female empowerment and inner strength like General Tso makes chicken.
Asking the Napolitano to make General Tso’s Chicken or the New Fortune Restaurant to bang out a D.O.C. Margherita pizza and you are just asking for disappointment.
This idea of walking into a pizza place, ordering Chinese food, and then being mad about not getting good Chinese food applies to what I see happening in business every day.
Most people are really building a hobby that generates a little cash. Writing poetry, making crafts, gardening – these are all admirable hobbies. And if you’re offered to write an anniversary poem for a friend, sell your hand-painted rocks at a craft show, or pick up some extra cash for weeding the neighbors garden beds while they are out of town, more power to you.
The problem is, many people with a hobby, THINK they have a business.
To be clear, a business is designed to create:
– scalable revenue
– decreased workload
– building an asset
– funding a movement
– investment with an expectation of a return
– lots of decision-making
– managing challenges and overcoming obstacles
At the end you have created something out of nothing! An entity that could live beyond you. An impact which leads to meaning and purpose. (Not the only way to get meaning and purpose of course… just a way… a vehicle for creating change and making a difference.)
You can still take your skills and knowledge and contribute in gazillions of other ways without building a business. But if you aren’t building an actual business then you have created a hobby.
A hobby is designed to generate:
– random revenue (which is fine – use it to buy shoes!)
– a random workload (get good at saying yes or no whenever you want to do stuff)
– spreading joy in the moment but having nothing to show for your efforts except putting a smile on someone’s face
– no movement or legacy from your efforts but you can say you passed your time on life well.
Having a hobby requires:
– investment with NO expectation of return
– managing challenges and overcoming obstacles
A business is different from a hobby, but both are great – just like pizza and Chinese food are both great. The only thing that matters is DECIDING. Just like with my birth situation, the problem wasn’t between choosing a medical or a natural birth; the problem was, I didn’t even know there was a choice!
Both medical births and natural births have challenges – just like businesses and hobbies both have challenges. The PROBLEM is that there is a LACK of informed consent about the pros and cons of each.
Hobbies are not free and they don’t come without drama. They don’t have the upside of reliable revenue or building an asset. But they do come with the freedom of being able to wander through the forest a look at all the pretty trees at a slower pace.
Building a business, like a natural birth, is hard (but p.s. so is a medical birth). You will be in intense pain without an epidural or drugs. It will feel 100% impossible. You will want to give up and that isn’t even an option! But your brain will be insisting you quit whatever it takes. And you will keep going. You will know billions of women will have gone before you but you will (unless you have an amazing doula) be thinking those billions of women must have had something you don’t because you can’t do it. You will think your body is a lemon (h/t Ina May Gaskin). You will think something is wrong with you or your baby. You will curse your decision to have a natural birth. And you will do it anyway because there is no option. It’s hard and miraculous.
A medicalized is like a hobby. You can schedule a c-section even and know the date it’s going to happen. You can get blankets and onesies monogrammed with the baby’s birthday months in advance if you want. You know you will be medicated probably before your first contraction. Maybe you know there could be a negative impact on your baby’s lungs not having been squeeze clean through the vaginal canal, but whatever, no pain for you! Your milk won’t come in and your body might THINK the baby died pumping gallons and gallons of hormones through your body that will likely feel like a deep depression. Your transition to motherhood will almost certainly be hormonally harder. But you did not feel the pain of birth – and maybe you got a tummy tuck too while you were at it. Oh, and your chance of having to deal with incontinence before 40 is dramatically reduced! Huzzah.
Both scenarios are hard. Both are valid choices. Both have pros and cons. One is not EASIER…
The same is true with business. Most business owners think the problem is their tactics… and that finding the right name, creating the right logo, or getting on the right podcast will take you over the tipping point… but that’s not the problem. The problem is you are having a coerced, medicalized birth and you don’t even see it happening. You believe “the baby is too big” (<– almost always bullshit).
The author and expert world is designed up for hobbyist who call themselves business people. The industry wants to keep the wool over your eyes. It’s better for their revenue numbers if you think you have a business when you really have a hobby.
In order to have a natural (non-medical) birth in America in a traditional hospital – it’s ALMOST impossible. If you want a natural birth, you have to be 10000% committed. You have to tell everyone. You have to stay strong even when it’s scary. You have to…. be the PERSON who has a natural birth before you have one. If you waiver in the slightest you will be “tricked” into a medical birth. Which you know, may be traumatic for you and may not.
Why? Because you are at a pizza place, ordering Chinese food.
To have a successful business you have to decide it’s done before you do it. Failure can’t be an option. If you go to an American hospital and think “I’m going to play it by ear and see how I feel during labor,” that’s ALMOST CERTAINLY leading to a medical birth. If you start your business thinking “I’m going to play it by ear and see how I feel,” that’s ALMOST CERTAINLY leading to a hobby.
When you decide in advance, all the next steps get laid out in front of you. When part of you holds on to the idea, “well if it’s really painful maybe I’ll just get an epidural…” that’s the slippery slope.
Most people reach the point in their business where it’s like they are at 6 centimeters dilated. Progress is stalled. The hospital will now be pressuring you to medicalize the birth. Who do you want to be? The mom who says “I know I can plug into source and deliver this baby naturally”? or the mom who says “I did my best, I tried, lets just get the baby out and make sure she is safe.”
^^BOTH ARE GOOD MOMS^^
There is no BAD choice… You just decide who you want to be.
Choose your choice!
Here are the steps you need to know to choose your choice – and not let it choose you.
1. Decide if you want pizza or Chinese without self-judgement.
2. Identify if you are at a pizza place or a Chinese restaurant.
3. If you want pizza and you are at a Chinese place, LEAVE and go to a pizza place!
I want to be someone who keeps going and builds something amazing and shows others what’s possible and creates a legacy and generational wealth. So, I show up as that person every day – not because it’s easy to… but because I am 100% committed to being that person and having had that life.
Doesn’t make my decision any better than someone who decides to have a hobby selling her crafts at the fair, as long as she has informed consent about the likely outcome.
If you know you want a business, and not a hobby, you might be interested in snagging one of the pre-launch charter spots at my new Author Training Academy. This is the premiere continuing education training for non-fiction authors who want a business and not a hobby from their book. I was planning to take 10 charter members but I sold 39 spots in less than 30 minutes last week so I’m going to open up 11 more spots at 75% off the regular price to make it an even 50 charter members. Please be clear, if you join the Author Training Academy, you are signing up to build a business with help from the top trainers in the author and experts’ industry. We’d love to help you make the difference you were born to make! To sign up go to www.AuthorTrainingAcademy.com/launch.
10 thoughts on “The Biggest Problem Most Authors Don’t Even Know They Have”
Thank You for this. It’s very clarifying for me, and helpful for where I want to be. I indeed need to get my ass out of this Pizza place!
Great to hear, Michael. Thank you!
This was so freaking inspirational and challenging. I’m inspired. Thank you.
Thank you, TK! I’m so glad!
This content has given me food for thought. I’m very inspired. Thank you
This speaks to me in language I can understand, on so many levels. I am a tree-hugging homebirther (or was), and because I knew I didn’t want to order Chinese from a pizza place, I planned two beautiful, safe home births. But what really spoke to me was the moment during that unmedicated birth when I clearly remember telling my midwife, “This is so hard!” And she said, “Yes, it is.” And I said, “It couldn’t have been this hard for you when you gave birth!” And she laughed with me, and said, “Yes, it was.”
I am in that moment of feeling like what I’m trying to do with my business is impossible. But you remind me that I’ve been here before, and I was 100% committed to that natural, unmedicated birth, no excuses (unless baby was in danger). So I remain and reclaim my 100% commitment to this business. Even though it seems unclear and impossible. It’s not. Everyone thinks that, until they get through it, right?
Thanks for sharing that, Amanda!
Absolutely clear, pizza at the pizza place and Chinese food at the Chinese restaurant, thanks for the inspiring words.
I never wrote a book before, but really interested in create a movement, write a book is now a priority in my life, hope to have the chance to work with you soon.
Thank you, Karen!