Summer is generally a slow time in the news business, partly because the big “news makers” like legislators are in recess. But I’ll admit that some of that slowdown comes from apathy and burnout on my end. So while the fat cats are away, The Hyperlocalist shall play!
I spent two weeks putzing around the sweltering Southeast, only to return to a steamy and smelly New York. I cloistered myself in the bedroom, the only room in my apartment with air conditioning, while the computer sat dormant in the stuffy living room. Twitter and email messages went unanswered. Articles accumulated in my RSS reader, only to be flushed away unread.
Instead, I downloaded “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” onto my e-reader. I watched “Days of Our Lives.” I discovered the indoor pool at the local Y. And I watched the Mets piss away yet another season. With the exception of the latter, it was all good.
Perhaps the best thing about unplugging was the realization that I had become too much of a thinker and a talker and not enough of a doer. Twitter and the blogosphere are littered with schmucks like me who yap about potential revenue streams and new technology, but yap isn’t worth a damn without test driving it for oneself. So I’ve gotten back on the entrepreneurial wagon.
First, I set a loose timeline for my new hyperlocal-news publication, one that gives me time to work on my business plan (as well as some personal obligations) while slowly making my company’s presence known in the community. Next, I cracked open an accounting textbook to learn about balance sheets and profit-and-loss (also known as P&L or income) statements. Also, I picked up a few domain names, a Twitter handle, and a clean WordPress theme.
It was about time I moved my ass. And it’s time for other journopreneurs to do the same. Worried that running a news business isn’t the right choice? Feeling uneasy about where and when the money will come? Sweating the big-box competition?
DON’T. Just don’t.
Being an entrepreneur means sticking one’s neck out, knowing well that the ax might fall right on it. Sometimes, one swift blow is enough to send that skull rolling directly into the basket. Other times, it takes a couple of whacks with a dull blade to sever a now-useless appendage from its spinal stem. But for the lucky, that ax misses completely swing after swing, and the execution is stayed.
Admittedly, I’ve got a vulnerable neck, but I’m sticking it out as far as my vertebrae will reach. It’s the only way to know whether I get to keep my head.
Do the same.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Randy Son of Robert.