It’s an ancient war tactic to learn about your enemy before you fight with them; you’ll get to know their strengths and their weaknesses. This will guide you in the development of your strategy for battle. Entrepreneurship makes use of this very tactic.
You have to know who you are up against and how you can best beat your competitors. It’s not as gory as it sounds though. Competition is actually good for business. It will help you develop your skills and get the creative juices going so that you can create something your target audience will appreciate.
What does writing have to do with entrepreneurship, competition, and war strategies?
We live in an era where you can’t avoid consuming some form of content, from a book to a video. And when speaking of content, it essentially boils down to writing. So, if you can master the art of writing, you can master the creation of great content.
Content is a major part of any marketing strategy. Plus, as an entrepreneur, creating content is a great way to build credibility, relationships, and increase sales.
You can write blog posts, tweets, Facebook statuses, Instagram captions, emails, and sales letters. And if you’re the type to record videos or podcasts, writing is involved there too. You’ll write your video scripts or, at least, some points you want to mention. The same goes for podcasts, where you’ll refer to the questions drafted, an outline of the show, and your show notes.
So, there’s basically no escape from writing if you’re an entrepreneur.
Of course, there’s more to great content than just putting a bunch of words together. You have to make sure that it’s valuable, informative, and engaging enough to get your audience to relate to you. But here’s the part where most people struggle: getting started.
I know; I’ve been there.
I’ve had to fight my fair share of battles. I won some and lost many. But as I push forward and write more content, I learn more about myself and what hinders me. I call these hindrances trolls.
I thought I was the only one cursed to deal with trolls. Then I opened up to some of my entrepreneur friends, read stories of entrepreneurs who take an active part in creating content, and realized that I was not alone.
These trolls can be intimidating, but when you get to know them a little, they won’t hold power over you anymore. Here are 3 trolls that have been bothering me (and a whole lot of other entrepreneurs) and how you can slay them.
Troll #1: Perfectionism
“Subtle” and “cunning” are this troll’s middle names (its first name’s probably Troll). Perfectionism rears its head as something harmless but, when you give room to it, it’ll start terrorizing your writing. Here’s where it gets you: you know that it’s not a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing to want to write quality content. It’s not a bad thing to want to make sure everything is all in order. It’s not a bad thing to write content that people will find useful. But when you allow yourself to obsess over trying to fix your content until it’s perfect, then you’ll be stuck there for a long time. There’s no such thing as perfect content. There’s no such thing as a perfect blog post, perfect video, perfect podcast. But you do have resourceful, valuable and engaging blog posts, videos or podcasts. The aim is to give value. You need to realize that.
It’s not a bad thing to want to write quality content. It’s not a bad thing to want to make sure everything is all in order. It’s not a bad thing to write content that people will find useful. But, when you allow yourself to obsess over trying to fix your content until it’s perfect, you’ll get stuck in the same place for a long time. There’s no such thing as perfect content. There’s no such thing as a perfect blog post, a perfect video, or a perfect podcast. But you do have resourceful, valuable, and engaging blog posts, videos or podcasts. The aim is to give value. You need to realize that.
Perfectionism really is deadly. You have no idea when, where, or how it will creep in. It disguises itself as an innocent desire to create quality content, whether it’s an eBook, a video, or a podcast.
When you give in to the Perfectionism Troll, you won’t get your content out there for your audience to consume. If nobody reads your blog posts, watches your videos, or listens to your podcasts, then you’re not going to go very far in your content strategy.
Here’s the secret weapon against the Perfectionism Troll: Focus on creating the MVP (minimum viable product).
Whether you call it the minimum viable product, post, podcast, or pancake, the aim is still the same: create content good enough to achieve its purpose, then build on that later.
Perfectionism makes you want to keep editing until it’s perfect enough to reveal to the public. The MVP makes you want to create something good enough to solve a problem then reveal it to the public. Perfectionism works towards aesthetics. MVPs work towards the solution. Once the MVP solves a problem, it’s ready.
So whenever you put your pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard, you need to know when to stop, release, and build from there. Blogs will always have updates. Courses or programs will always launch a 2.0. EBooks always have new editions. You need to realize that there’s always room for improvement.
No one’s perfect. Do the best you can with the aim of giving what is enough (at the very least), then acknowledge that it can be improved upon later.
The Perfectionism Troll does not want you to release your content. In order to defeat it, that’s exactly what you need to do.
Troll #2: Doubt
If trolls could have 2 heads, the Doubt Troll would. It has the power to make you feel inadequate about yourself and your abilities as a writer. Even with people saying that your work is amazing, the Doubt Troll will make you question the truth of such a statement.
The reason why this troll is such a menace is that writing requires conviction. The power behind your content lies in how convinced you were at the time you were writing. Writing is all about expressing yourself, your views, and your beliefs. Your ability to write a single line draws its power from your belief in yourself to actually spread your message.
With doubt, you’ll only take one step forward and 2 steps back. If after each word, phrase, or sentence you question the efficacy or the validity of the information you’re sharing, you’re not going to go very far.
Secret Weapon against the Doubt Troll: belief.
- Believe in yourself and your ability to pass your message across. As long as you can put words together to form a sentence with meaning, you have what it takes to write something that matters. It’s all part of a process. As you keep writing, you’ll get better at sharing your message. You just need to know that you have what it takes to do it.
- Believe in the message or information you want to share. Conviction is contagious; people can feel your conviction through your words. When you’re convinced about your message, it is easier to express and to share with others.
- Believe in your mission to serve. Whatever your area of expertise might be, you need to realize that you’re out to help people. You need to know what your target audience wants and what problems they want to solve. What you write should give your audience value. You need to believe that this is what you want to do.
Troll #3: Fear
This troll’s imposing figure and intimidating roar are enough to get anyone to start hiding. But don’t let it fool you; it’s all a façade.
Have you ever been afraid of doing something out of your comfort zone, only to find out it wasn’t such a big deal after all? This is exactly how this troll works.
Fear can stop you from writing anything. You might be afraid of what readers will think of your writing. You might be afraid of criticism, or you might even be afraid of haters (read: the Human Troll). It’s normal to be afraid sometimes, but you should never let your fear stop you from writing. What’s the worst that could happen?
- You’d hear crickets. Zero engagement – no comments or no shares (but that doesn’t stop you from trying again. There’s always a valuable lesson hidden behind it).
- Nobody would listen to your podcast (that doesn’t stop you from retracing your steps, tweaking the process and trying again).
- You’d get some hate mail or negative comments (ever seen a successful entrepreneur without haters or critics?) Haters are just a sign that you’re headed in the right direction. Critics point out what you need to work on. There’s plenty to learn from both, even if you don’t conform to their rules and standards.
Here’s a secret weapon against the Fear Troll: tell yourself that you’re going to kick ass and take names. Inaction is what fuels fear. To get over your fears, you need to confront them. When you face your fears, they shrivel away to die alone in a dark corner.
Sam Parr of HustleCon says that you have to be bold and tough when writing. It doesn’t matter what anyone says about you. All that matters is that you get your work out in the open for your audience.
Does the battle end here?
There will be times when you will have to fight these trolls over and over. But it will not be the same battle.
As you progress in your writing, you’ll be consistently challenged. It will never destroy you and it will build you up. These challenges help you sharpen your skills, increase your creativity, and push you out of your comfort zone. As you win each battle, you’ll see that overcoming your trolls is not as difficult as you think.