Time is your friend
2 min read

The story of my creative journey begins with startups. And in the startup and tech world, speed is really important.

If your company doesn’t show rapid growth and improvement from day one, you’re not interesting to investors. If you aren’t interesting to investors, you’re not interesting to the media. If you’re not interesting to investors or the media, building your company is going to be harder and slower…

So from the moment you start, you’re up against the clock.

There are all these adages like “move fast and break things” or “fail fast.” Time is not your friend when you’re building a startup company.

But now that I’m in the third chapter of my creative journey, I’ve found the opposite to be true for independent creators.

This week I was interviewing Michael Bungay Stanier, the author of the popular books The Coaching Habit and The Advice Trap for an upcoming episode of Creative Elements.

We were talking about his path into building an agency and starting to write. And when he was talking about “writing his first book,” I clarified, “We’re talking about The Coaching Habit, right?”

“No, I actually wrote four books before The Coaching Habit.

First of all, yikes, I should’ve known that from my research.

Second of all, Michael wrote and published FOUR books before he really hit with The Coaching Habit!

Those books each had their own varying degrees of success, which Michael is and should be proud of. But I don’t think he’d fault me for saying The Coaching Habit is what introduced him to so many readers.

It’s just one example in a slew of examples of creators who worked for years on their body of work before finding a success that really propelled them to another level.

Succeeding as an indie creator comes down to your willingness to keep going.

There is so much noise and so many other creators competing for attention. But I’d bet you’ve felt the temptation to give up before…and most people give in to that temptation at some point.

You can win as an indie creator by simply continuing to show up, dedicating yourself to improving your craft, and making time your friend.

If you do that over a period of years, math takes over. If you see any growth at all, no matter how small, math and compounding results will help you.

Albert Einstein described compound interest as the “eighth wonder of the world.” He said, “He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays for it.”

And not only are you putting yourself in a position to succeed through time and compounding…but you’re creating opportunities for luck to strike.

But the key is creating habits and expectations that allow your work and process to be sustainable over the long term.

You’re ambitious. It’s natural to feel some impatience or frustration with your progress. But as an indie creator, time is on your side. Make it your friend, not your enemy.