You know that nightmare where you are a bobbing body in a rapidly-flowing river, and you are hurtling towards rocks and hard-edged obstacles at speed, but somehow get swirled past them? That’s what it feels like setting up a company. Infrastructure, legal, financial, fiscal, design: massive, terrifying boulders with vicious edges, but once they’re past, they seem doable.
My sister, who ran her own business very successfully for years (entrepreneurship is in the family), gave me some good advice to ward off fear: Take small solid steps and before you know it you will have large footprints behind you. So I’m taking small solid steps out of the river and am walking alongside it now at my own speed, admiring the view, and thinking carefully about what I need to do next.
The commissioning part is surprisingly easy. Books seem to be just hanging there like ripe fruit, waiting for me to spot them, and decide that I want to sell them. I went to a conference last week, and came away with a new novel to consider. I go to meet a colleague for lunch when I’m in the British Library, and his wife has the most brilliant idea for a reprint. I email a friend in Sweden to tell him what I’m up to, and he sends me to his former supervisor who is now doing an edition for me. I read a vintage literary review and spot an author I will not be blogging about because I want to reprint his works.
If I’d known it was this easy, and this much fun, I’d’ve set up the company years ago. But I will not be doing it fast. This is the time for slow steps.