Being an entrepreneur means being comfortable with multitasking. Entrepreneurs balance everything from team management and financial planning to marketing and customer relations. What about adding “author” to that juggling act? The idea may seem overwhelming—after all, writing a book is no small feat, let alone doing it while running a company. But with the right strategy, writing a book is possible and has the added benefit of helping grow an entrepreneur’s brand and business. This article will explore the complexities and possibilities of undertaking such an ambitious endeavor. Whether you’re a CEO with a robust business lesson to share or an entrepreneur with a compelling story that can inspire others, you’ll find strategies and techniques to help you navigate this adventure.
Introduction: Writing a book while running a company
Writing a book takes work. Writing while running a company can be even more challenging. Entrepreneurs often wear multiple hats at their companies, and the thought of adding one more task to that list can be stressful.
However, a book can be a powerful tool for budding entrepreneurs. Business books create business leads. Writing a business book can establish you as the authority in your field. This kind of recognition can direct potential customers your way and generate other business, too.
In the past, one of the few ways entrepreneurs could make their books happen was to hire a ghostwriter. Our founder started in the ghostwriting business writing primarily books for entrepreneurs. But good ghostwriting is expensive, so what’s a bootstrapped entrepreneur to do? You can do it. Here’s how.
Why Consider Writing a Book?
Writing a business book can establish you as the authority in your field. This kind of recognition can direct potential customers your way and generate other business, too.
Benefits of writing a book
The right business book will help your customers solve a problem or complete a job. Your book can identify your customers’ needs and how you and your business can satisfy them. And it doesn’t matter what type of business you run: business books are for more than just finance folks. Personal fitness trainers, dentists, and auto mechanics can all benefit from telling their potential customers how their product or service is beneficial.
How it can enhance personal brand and company reputation
A book is better than a business card because it establishes you as the authority. You become the expert when you write about your subject matter. Having a book to your name increases the likelihood that you’ll secure more speaking engagements, podcast invitations, and even get paid to do so! All of this publicity boosts your brand and your company’s reputation, but a book helps seal the deal.
Common challenges with writing a book
Balancing responsibilities and avoiding burnout
This is a big one. Are you good at managing your time? Do you procrastinate? Do you feel like you’re stretched to the limit as it is? To write a book means prioritizing the time necessary to complete it. Look at your calendar and set a realistic goal:
- How much time can I set aside each week to write?
If you can devote two hours a week to writing your book, you can spread those two hours over a few days. That way, you won’t be pulled away from your job for too long a stretch, and spending a little time each day on your book will help keep your mind focused on it. Whatever time you can budget, block it in your calendar. Treat writing time as important as you would any other appointment.
Is It Possible?
Can I write a book? I’m too busy?
Yes. It’s really possible. I’ve seen hundreds of entrepreneurs do it, and I know you can, too. It does require patience and dedication, but fortunately, those are qualities that entrepreneurs unquestionably possess.
Real-life examples of CEOs or entrepreneurs who have successfully written books
Here are a few examples of CEOs and entrepreneurs managing successful businesses while writing books.
- Henry Ford, founder, Ford Motor Company, My Life and Work (1922)
- Ford wrote this book “in collaboration” with Samuel Crowther, a journalist who helped Ford and other captains of industry write their books.
- Tony Hsieh, founder, Zappos, Delivering Happiness:A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose (2010)
- Hsieh’s book debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list largely due to his pre-launch marketing campaign where he gave away copies of his book in exchange for an online review.
- Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Meta, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (2013)
- Based on a TED talk about how women hold themselves back, Sandberg’s manifesto explores how women can build and sustain a rewarding career.
Time Management Strategies
Several strategies can help you manage your time effectively, run your company, and write your book. You may already be familiar with some of the time-management strategies below, and that’s because they work inside and outside the boardroom:
Tips for effective time management
Prioritization and Planning:
- The 80/20 Rule: Identify the 20% of tasks that bring 80% of the results in business and writing. Focus on those and delegate or eliminate the rest.
- Schedule Writing Time: As mentioned earlier, block dedicated time for writing in your calendar and treat those blocks like any other appointment.
Using tools and technologies to help manage time
Maximizing Writing Efficiency:
- The Pomodoro Technique: This technique is great if you’re easily distracted by your to-do list. Work in focused intervals of 20 to 30 minutes. Take 2 to 3-minute breaks to maintain concentration and avoid burnout. Take a longer break after four working sessions. Gamify the process by recording each session.
- Dictate Instead of Typing: Text-to-voice software can capture your thoughts quickly, especially during commutes or travel time.
Allocating specific times for writing vs. running the business
Mindset and Wellbeing:
- Set Realistic Goals: Don’t aim for perfection or try to write your entire book overnight. Set achievable goals, celebrate small wins, and avoid putting undue pressure on yourself.
- Maintain Boundaries: Say no to requests that don’t align with your priorities. Protect your writing time and personal well-being.
- Self-Care: Prioritize sleep, healthy eating, and exercise to maintain energy and creative capacity. Take breaks to avoid burnout and recharge.
Outsourcing and Delegation
How to effectively delegate responsibilities in your company to make time for writing
- Employ the 80/20 Rule: Identify the 20% of tasks that bring 80% of the results in both business and writing. Focus on those and delegate or eliminate the rest.
- Delegate and Outsource: Delegate routine business tasks to free up time for writing. If you’re bootstrapping, consider outsourcing administrative work to virtual assistants or find a freelancer.
Consider ghostwriting services
If you’re stretched to the limit and have financial resources set aside, consider working with a ghostwriter who can eliminate the stress of meeting deadlines and running a business simultaneously. A competent business ghostwriter will ensure that your book gets done.
Techniques for writing more efficiently
If only there were a formula for efficient writing, we’d all use it. Writing is iterative, not linear–meaning, it may take you more than one draft to get something just the way you want it. Still, take advantage of the right writing tools and software to help you get the job done. And yes, that also includes using AI intelligently.
Writing tools and software that can help
Shameless self-promotion time: Consider using DIYBook for your business book. With our online platform you gain access to our writing prompts structured specifically for the entrepreneur and other resources to help you get started and maintain focus on your writing journey.
What about AI? Yes, it can help increase your writing efficiency when used appropriately. But it can’t do everything. Read our article on best practices here.
From Completion to Publication
What to expect once the book is written
Congratulations, you’ve finished writing your book! Now what? Go through this checklist to see if you’re ready to move to the next step: printing and publication:
Manuscript Prep Checklist:
- Editing: Edit your manuscript for grammar, punctuation, clarity, and consistency. Consult beta readers and developmental editors for feedback.
- Proofreading: Proofread for typos and formatting . You may wish to have a professional do this. If you’re doing this yourself, check out our guide with tips on how to do this yourself.
- Interior Design: Choose a font, layout, and spacing that are visually appealing and easy to read. You can do this yourself or hire a professional to create a polished look.
- Cover Design: Design a professional cover that reflects your topic and business. Once again, you can do this yourself or hire a professional.
Book Production and Publication:
- ISBN: Obtain an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) to identify your book and enable bookstore distribution.
- Copyright: Register your copyright for legal protection.
Marketing & Promotion (this is important whether you have a book deal or are self-publishing):
- Book Description: Keep it compelling and concise to capture readers’ attention.
- Author Platform: An online presence lets you connect with readers and promote your book.
- Marketing & Promotion Strategy: Develop a plan for marketing your book, including online advertising, author events, and book reviews.
Financial considerations if you are self-publishing or creating your own imprint:
- Printing Costs: Research printing costs for various quantities and finishes if self-publishing.
- Marketing Budget: How much will you allocate for marketing and promotion efforts? Writing your book is important but you must tell the world it exists to sell it.
Can you write a book while working full time?
Yes, you can write a book while working full time–see the blog post above for a step-by-step process on how to do that. (TL:DR; create a calendar, set realistic goals, and stick to your plan)
How many hours does it take to write a book on average?
It depends on the scope of work, which can include total word length and research requirements. Based on my experience ghostwriting, you can expect to spend at least 200 hours writing your book, and you may spend much more.
How many hours a day should you write a book?
This will depend on your schedule and what you can realistically commit to each day. Whatever that number may be, make sure it’s something you can do consistently. It’s better to write a little each day instead of trying to find hours to write in one sitting.
You’re ready. Start writing now!
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