Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Cassandra Clarke, a Creative Writer located in Richmond, VA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is a little unique: I'm a novelist. People often don't think of being a novelist as running a business, but it does fit all the boxes: I create a product (books, in this case), market them, sell them, evaluate their performance, and much more! As for my customers, that's easy: readers!

Tell us about yourself

I began pursuing a writing career in earnest when I finished graduate school in 2008, which was when I wrote the novel that would eventually land me a publisher and kickstart my novel-writing career. My first book came out in 2012. Since then, I've published consistently and now have 13 books available.

Motivation is both easy and difficult to find. It's easy in that I love writing--even if I weren't trying to maintain a writing career, I would still be writing something. What's difficult is finding the motivation to deal with writing as a business, particularly with a day job and other writing-related freelance work (such as teaching creative writing classes). I find that the best approach is tackling a little bit every day--it's amazing how quickly things will build over time.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I love receiving mail from readers. I especially love when I get messages about my older books--the reality of writing and publishing is that older works tend to disappear, and readers are always looking for the next big thing. So it's a pleasure to receive those little reminders that my books are still floating around out there, 10 or 7, or 5 years later!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I would say the general insecurity. When you have a full-time job working for someone else, you get a regular paycheck, health insurance, and a retirement account. When you run your own business, you are responsible for providing those things to yourself. Furthermore, my particular industry is notoriously feast or famine when it comes to payments. Nothing taught me more about budgeting and bookkeeping than being a writer.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Understand the boring bits. I think a lot of people move into freelancing because they like the idea of being their own boss, but there's a lot of necessary administrative work. It helps to have a firm grasp on that before you strike out on your own.
  2. On a similar note, write a business plan! I didn't start doing this until a few years ago, and it's really helped me get a big-picture view of my business, including what goals I want to achieve--and how to achieve them.
  3. Find another hobby. I can't speak to all prospective entrepreneurs, but in the world of writing, people often find that once they've monetized their main creative outlet, their life suffers. I think if you're trying to turn a hobby into a business, it's important to develop hobbies that you have no intention of selling--you deserve some downtime, too!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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