We’re all entrepreneurs.
An entrepreneur is someone who assembles the resources needed to turn an idea into a viable business. Entrepreneurs come in many forms – from the person who received a multi-million dollar investment from multiple venture capital firms for his/her Web 2.0 innovation to the person who owns a business that takes care of others’ lawns. Although this group is already quite diverse, it is getting more so by the day.
The newest group of entrepreneurs? Authors. (“How Authors Move Their Own Merchandise, Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2011)
Surprised? Let’s examine the competitive environment they face. Big publishing houses cannot afford to spend as much promoting their authors as they have in the past. In this era of short attention spans, everyone has to work harder to attract someone’s attention. Those who consume media do so in multiple ways – traditional newspaper/magazine, TV, website, smartphone, tablet computer, etc. Books can be purchased in a variety of ways on a variety of platforms (e.g., Kindle, iPad, bookstore, Nook, etc.). All of this has made it much harder for authors to get noticed. The result is that many are taking a page from the entrepreneurs’ playbook and taking a more active role in putting together resources to help spur sales.
Musicians – who face a similar predicament – are adjusting in similar ways. To cope with the trend of declining sales of albums and singles, many are taking more control over their careers. For example, musicians are performing more concerts (the music labels typically do not take a cut of the profits of concert and merchandise sales), offering promotions to those who pre-order, and doing more promotional tie-ins.
In this increasingly competitive world, it seems that almost everyone can benefit by acting more like an entrepreneur.
Dr. Atul Teckchandani
CSUF Entrepreneurship Professor