About six months ago, I said I’d never want to own my own business. Three months ago, while researching what it took to self-publish my books, I realized I’d need to do exactly that. All the experts on self-publishing encourage you to treat it as a business right from day 1, so in early July, I dropped off one of my kids at the dentist and walked across the street to Town Hall. Fifteen minutes later, I became a small business owner.
This is scary. I’m not going to lie — going ahead and becoming Philangelus Press required a commitment from me, a commitment to risk failing in a very big way. A public way.
So I researched. I got my tax ID and a bank account. I lined up freelancers and wrote a business plan and bought my ISBNs. I have a list of things to do that’s as long as my arm. And at some point, I froze because it was just too difficult. Too many things. “I can’t,” I said to my Patient Husband about buying the ISBNs. “I know I need to do this, and I’ve set aside the money to do it. But I get onto their website and I know pushing the button is the point of no return.”
He said to me, “Try doing one scary thing every day.”
So I’m trying. One scary thing every day. Scary things like buying ISBNs, like setting up an Amazon seller account, like interviewing narrators for audiobooks. And after I’ve done it, it doesn’t seem scary anymore, so I move on to the next scary thing.
A week after my Patient Husband returned with K1 and K2 from vacation, the mailman delivered a large, flat package. I joked, “More Magic cards?” and my Patient Husband said, “Look and see.” It was a canvas of this image (for which I’m sure I’d get a takedown notice, by the way, so just go over and look and save me a legal headache.)
It’s called “Leap of Faith,” and the artist explains that one day he looked into a tree about 20 feet overhead and saw a duck looking out of a hole. He pulled out his camera and waited…waited…and after about five hours, the duck launched, and for the first time, he could see she’d had chicks behind her. He started snapping pictures, and out tumbled all these baby ducks, for the first time spreading their wings and learning to fly on the way down.
He said, “I thought you’d like that story.”
I did. But more than that, I looked at the baby ducks and saw myself: born to fly but never having done so. Flying must be scary the first time, especially flying from so high up, and those stubby wings that look so underpowered for the size of the bird. But they leaped, and they flew, and they made it to water.
So every day, I work on my one scary thing. I’m willing to fail in a big, public way. But maybe on the way down, Philangelus Press will learn to fly.