In the Hebrew story of Moses, his parents face an impossible situation. Facing certain death, his mother does the ultimate in parenting decisions and send him down the river, hoping that by some chance he will be saved and given life – not just a “better life” – literally life. As a parent myself, I can’t imagine having to make such a difficult and heartbreaking decision.
Often entrepreneurs, inventors, creators and artist talk of their creation as “their baby” – “their child.” I can relate. I have too referred to my company Insignia Group as my “baby” at some point in my entrepreneurial journey. It’s completely natural. After all, we feel we “gave” birth to something, nurtured it, cared for it, and like a parent want our baby to grow up healthy, successful and wildly prosperous.
So for most creators, artists and entrepreneurs – like parents – it’s completely unimaginable to think of sending our babies down the river…and the Moses story is an amazing metaphor for what it takes to allow your creation to truly fulfill its potential.
Now before we dive into this metaphor, it is important to establish that although business – any business/endeavor – is difficult and can *feel* like life and death – this analogy to the Moses story in no way trivializes *real* life. So let’s not get carried away – metaphorically. (And no, my English degree didn’t go to waste on that pun.)
Let’s also acknowledge the reality of starting a band, a company, or publishing a book (yeah, writing the book is easy…we’re talking about making money), is like having a baby. And the world around your baby is cruel and unforgiving. Customers are hard to come by. Sustaining a band is a constant battle internally and externally. Every day, a new book is published and never sold.
Most entrepreneurial or creative endeavors die within three to five years of life – 50% of companies don’t make past the 4 year mark. More shockingly, only 20% of new companies make it past their first year of operation, according to a 2015-2016 Entrepreneurial Report published by Babson College. The rate of failure is probably four-time as high among artist endeavors like bands and writers. (Not much research to be found on this topic.)
Moses’ mother sees the world around her for what it is and knows that she is powerless to stop the death of her child. And that doesn’t mean she gives up. That doesn’t mean she just let’s it happen. She makes the most powerful decision any parent can make: puts aside her love, her instinct, and ultimately her ego and sends her baby to people who can and do care for Moses.
This too is the hardest decision a creator can make. I know, because I had to do this very thing in 2001. I sold my company to my main customer in order to keep the company from dying. It was so hard to admit that I needed help in order to make my dream of building a strong company a reality.
Most entrepreneurs or creators are not good operators. Early on in our experience, we don’t have a clue as to how to make good business decisions. Most inventors talk themselves into thinking they know how to build and operate a company and this is usually the fatal flaw. You don’t either. Admit it.
Recognize what you are good at: creating, writing, inventing, composing. Focus your energy on what you are good at and surround yourself with operators, marketers, SALES people. Rely on them to know how best to sell your product, best to market your product and run your business…stay involved AND let them run it.
(We will come back to the “sales person topic” in another blog…)
Unlike Moses’ mom, sending our babies down the river doesn’t mean we have no contact with our little ones. On the contrary, as the creator, you MUST remain in your baby’s life – after all, your endeavor is a part of you. I positioned myself in the new company as the “General Manager”, eventually being named ”President” and then in 2010 began buying the company back. Just recently this buyout was completed and now my partners and I own the company outright.
Right now, name yourself: “Chief Creative Officer.” Set out clear direction that you own the creative direction to your endeavor. You own the product, the music or the book. When it comes to decision about your art, you get the final say so. Then recognize you are out of your league with *everything* else. GET OUT OF THE WAY – YOU are holding your endeavor back from really taking the next step.
Surround yourself with talented and experienced people, who will take your direction and your creation to where you want it to go. And you must give up control. You can’t make every marketing decision. You can’t write every sales pitch. You can’t master each and every deal. At the same time, your operators will seek your guidance working with you to maximize your creation’s potential – especially if they benefit from your creation’s wild success.
Moses grew up to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt and ultimately saw his people to the promised land. None of that would have been possible without the enormous courage and yes, desperation of his Mom.
Insignia today is a 16 year old company – lasting 6 year past when most companies are either bought, merged or shuttered. It has exceeded my wildest expectations and fulfilled my dreams of developing a lasting company. My partners and I have now spun off a second company and we hope to build another great success. This would not be possible without my desperate and maybe courageous act to send my baby down the river.
If you are serious about your baby and you are ready to take your creation to the next level, then reach out to us here at 768. We know how to help your baby.
Comment and let’s engage in friendly banter and discourse…
Editorial Note: In looking for the perfect art for this article, I imagined a green grassed river shot with a baby in a basket floating along. As I was searching for such perfect image – which I could not find – it hit me…who the hell is going to put a baby IN an BASKET and float it down a river for a photo shoot???!! Duuuooh!