In other words, I’ve gone through the “Argh, business is hard, why bother at all, really” stage and back into “What the hell is this business, at its core” stage yet once more.
So now I have to deal with one unique problem that comes from revisiting (or in this case, re-re-re-revisiting) the Cave, and the problem is this:
It is super-duper goddamn easy to take your previously good enough answers and smoosh them into the new spaces, no matter whether or not they actually fucking fit you now your business (and you) have grown and changed and all that.
Previously, I have been guilty of some pretty thoughtless copy/paste when revisiting the Cave. Oh, my people are my people, you know, exactly like Who they were before, and my Why certainly hasn’t shifted, and What I offer is pretty much the same, and How I offer it, why that’s only moved millimetres!
And this is a terrible bad no-good thing to do. Attempting to sprint through the Cave stage is the number one most likely culprit for making sure you end up in the Quicksand again much faster than you’d like. ‘Cos you haven’t made any real changes, the business still has all the same problems and limitations, and they still lead to the exact same place, i.e. Suckville.
This time around, having launched Mediocre Be Damned as a side hustle/creative project is helping a LOT.
When planning and creating Mediocre Be Damned, I had to answer, “What’s the difference between these two websites? What belongs there and doesn’t belong here, and vice versa? Where are the borders?”
Revisiting the Cave always involves shifting your borders. Sometimes you’re making them broader, striking out into new and unfamiliar territory, enveloping new populations. Planting your flag on the moon.
And sometimes you’re making your borders smaller. Resisting the urge toward empire, and deciding to downgrade to bigger fish in a smaller pond.
This time I’m doing a bit of both. For example…
Wherein I decide to stop the sprawl
I have a tendency to wander. This tendency is BLINDINGLY FUCKING OBVIOUS if you go through the archives from the beginning. Cash and Joy started with a simple focus: a relaxed and cheerful approach to marketing, told largely through fables and fairy tales.
And then more business strategy started to sneak in – the line between marketing strategy and business strategy is damn thin at times. And then creative strategy snuck in, ’cos it’s best buds with the others.
And from then on, it’s been kinda sorta open season on topics. Anything that has felt relevant to… doing business… has been up for grabs.
And ironically, that’s made it harder to write. Having borders so damn broad makes it hard to say definitively, “This. This fits.” The more I gave myself permission to talk about, the less I felt I had to say.
So now I’m pulling back my outposts, recalling the legions, and downsizing the empire.
From now on, Mediocre Be Damned is the new base for articles, resources and offerings about creative structure and creative strategy, about the making of marvellousness. (If you liked my previous articles on the topic, you should sign up for its newsletter.)
Cash and Joy is about marketing and business strategy: how to reconcile it with your ethics, how to love it, how to rock at it, how to keep it interesting.
I will decide in coming weeks whether that means I’ll do a content division, or leave the blessèd mess of my archives as is. But hot damn, does this make my writing decisions easier!
(As evidenced by this, a new article. Gasp! Shock! And there are plenty more to come.)
Stay tuned: I’ll talk more in coming articles about the creative changes I’m sinewing my way through in regards to Who, How, What and Why.
‘Cos I can write more again now I’m clearer on those things! WHO KNEW.
Wait, I did. That’s why I talk about this stuff so much.
Smart Catherine. Have a biscuit.
Love and giraffes,