Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

Storytelling is a big deal

“Storytelling has always been a big deal for companies.
But forget business for a minute. Stories are much bigger than that, they’re central to our human existence.” – gapinvoid

Stories are about people, not about business, not about products. Behind every successful business, there is a person whose heart trembled with fear, apprehension and disappointment. Behind any product there is a set of questions one bluntly asks in desperation and determination. We don’t really have all the answers to all questions but if we weave them into a story, maybe we can touch the answers with some words.
We write stories to survive and sur-thrive.

“Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.”
– Roland Barthes, “Talking,” in A Lover’s Discourse, 1977

But with such setting, what is there to write about?
… The perfection of a stolen moment far from the madding crowd:

credit @james_mcdonald_photography
• Harry’s Bar London

Lotus eaters

“Poets are the dreams of gods, and in each and every age someone hath sung unknowingly the message and the promise from the lotus-gardens beyond the sunset.”
H.P. Lovecraft, Poetry and the Gods

I am no lotus eater, just a word eater. I gulp them ethereally and stubbornly, and innocently agree with their meanings. They tremble and describe another day in the garden beyond the sunset.

Art by Thomas Edwin Mostyn.

The hardest questions

What is the hardest question you would ask your Business lecturer?

If you were a French entrepreneur in 1873, what business opportunity would you have pursued, following the Paris Panic?

Art – Peregrinations of a Comet – Illustration by J.J. Grandville from Un Autre Monde, published in 1844.

To be continued.

Of Serendip

There is a very old folktale that dates back to the Sassanid Empire about the Three Princes of Serendip, who travelled the world, making discoveries. These seemed to be accidental, but the discoveries were reinforced by the princes’ wisdom in recognizing and taking advantage of these apparent accidents. During the 18th century the art historian and antiquarian Horace Walpole brought the word “serendipity” into the English language based on this story, in which the heroes were “always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”.

Be of Serendip. Indulge in the freedoms of travelling, vicariously or not.

Education and experience do not come from a paper. I have two main papers, but the most important papers are the ones I have been filling since I started doing the work I am proud of, the work that I have sent and showed to perfect strangers while making decisions in times of eclipses of mind and ideas.
We have skills, as stated in our papers, nevertheless the ones we need to sail the murky waters of translucent innovation and the rock-solid skills of a bootstrapper are still pending…

“There are more tools, resources and opportunities to become a bootstrapper today than ever before. To begin with a market that needs your help, a contribution you want to make and the willingness to put in the effort and to create something of value.”
Seth Godin

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”-Arthur C. Clarke
Use the magic at your hands to solve problems, make connections, open doors, make a difference aided by your new found freedom.
Your freedom is your new-found-land, your Serendip.

Freedom is novelty in thinking, words, ideas. Each day comes with a new attire of projects. Finish some of them, mold some into new stuff. Your stuff… Show your stuff to new people. Send something that you yourself have weaved.

Nevertheless, some days would be spent drifting while hope gets eaten by a dragon. But as an entrepreneur, there is just one way available, that of gritty positivism. Otherwise you’ve got yourself a problem, solved when silvery hope shines again, lit by your work and the people you care about.
Iulia Halatz

Art – Eclipse by Konstantin Korobov.

http://blog.seocopywriting.ro/2017/04/04/success-as-craft-of-magic/

I am delighted that five of my poems were included in the Sudden Denouement Anthology Volume I. The anthology is now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Personal value proposition

“Your PVP, your personal value proposition, is how you impact your company.
It’s how your work changes the world.” – Gapingvoid

Content writers don’t write blog posts – they create stories.

Teachers don’t teach – they create stories and experiences.

Teachers create stories around you as a main character. You get to play many parts, one of which is to rewrite and retell your story in English. With “little” help from your teacher.

So when you come the the course, you know what story to weave.

There is no place for arrogance in the teaching. The only thing is changing the world of your students.

© Iulia Halatz

Art by Hans Andersen Brendekilde.

I am delighted that five of my poems were included in the Sudden Denouement Anthology Volume I. The anthology is now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

A handsome start

“Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss.” – Elon Musk
Never have we, abyss-starers and glass-eaters, read truer words, epitomizing our audacious struggle.
What do I know about starting a business? Nothing besides that irresistible sparkle of novelty, of all the new things awaiting to be learned and unlearned and not having two days alike.

I started my first business (bespoke professional English courses) because I wanted to create new language together with my students. I did not want to show language to the students but to help them create their own.
Owning a business is not for the weak. Oftentimes I suffered from stress and too much glass-chewing damaged my stomach. A question may have many answers, the right answer is the one that concurs with your business strategy.
In no time I have learned how fast day-dreaming becomes daymarish. Still, mistakes are what we (and Oscar Wilde) call hard-earned experience. I have a salad of them.

Know yourself very well and the things you are capable of
Most people are not aware of who they are and their limitations. Make a SWOT analysis of yourself first and then of your business. We confuse experience in a certain field with the ability of conducting a business. I have learned the hard way the truth of the axiom. I thought that if I were a very good teacher and communicator, owning a business would be a piece of cake. I would ride on a smile shine and choke on the requests for offer.

Be prepared for anything
If a customer asks for a tornado of sharks (a metaphor) for a copywriting job, I ask: “white sharks?” Consequently, see yourself very clearly and prepare for any question or query. Take time to prepare every business meeting and presentation in detail because you and your products are everything you’ve got. I have my relentless imagination and hard facts to craft a bespoke down-to-earth project for everyone.

Believe in your business model and follow your spreadsheets
(I daily-plan everything and all my courses follow a plan, at the end of which we have assessments.)
It is in our nature to want more. Some people want things that are not in your offer. Some people do not know what they want.
In other words you will be tempted to set up your business model according to what your customers say they want. Sometimes this is fine as it opens doors to new products and services. Nevertheless, the core of your business model (your Mission statement) should remain unchanged.

Expect your communication to take unexpected turns
“Do you know that conversation is one of the greatest pleasures in life? But it wants leisure.” – Somerset Maugham
Give it leisure and friendliness. Nevertheless, there are still queries to be had. The other day a representative of a medical company called and between the “lines” I picked up on their willingness for 17 people to benefit from our English course, but to pay for only 10 people, because some of the attendants might get bored in the end, as so happens at all English courses, he says, “knowingly”.
I never take kindly this type of approach as the lack of respect for my time and efforts translates into lack of respect towards me and my hard-crafted projects, mission, vision. Learning a language is not for everyone as it involves commitment and hard work and new eyes open for you to see more and more each class passing. Language is information.

Learning a language is not like attending a show. You participate in the show. Or have it like this, you participate in a postmodern theatrical performance where the actors get down from the stage and interact with the audience. It is a story within a story. We create a bespoke story for you and you get to add up your story. We create language together.
My start of the business was not at all handsome because I did not put these in my plan. I just thought that being skilled as a teacher and communicator would suffice. It didn’t, but I am still learning.
I am always willing to create “work” that shines like the sun with imaginative people that wish to keep their readers and customers on their toes.

I am illustrating with a Van Gogh, the master of painting the work of people. The work that shines like the sun, the same as his poignant mesmerizing timeless imagery.

© Iulia Halatz

I am delighted that five of my poems were included in the Sudden Denouement Anthology Volume I. The anthology is now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

The Three Foundations of Art

Writing anything original is art whether it is a review, a letter, an email, a cover letter, a presentation, a poem … Everything is art because it is a singular assembly of words never written before.
“Author James Elkins writes of the three components necessary for someone to become an artist: seeing, making and the tabula rasa.
First, students need to learn to see. They have to see the world as it is without labels, without knowing the name of what is seen.
Second, they are taught how to make. How to use hands or voice or body to take what they see and reflect it back to the world.
And third, and most difficult, the artist starts with a blank slate. Art must be done for the first time, not repeated, and that first stroke, those first words – this is the source of our fear.”
Seth Godin – The Icarus Deception

First, you are leaving your corporeal body and seeing with inverted eyes to “quiet your cleverness”. Seeing what could be, and not what it is, as in Samuel Butler’s study of hypothetics at the Colleges of Unreason (Erewhon). Turning our own good poetry of the seen into the hypothetical language or the poetry of the unseen.
Second, as in learning how to use our imagination and the words of the unseen to create something first taking shape in ink from your pen.
The last, the most painful and fearsome act, the blank sheet of paper awaiting to be filled by you, by your drawing of new sounds and thoughts. You do not know if it is good, but if you do not know, then it is good.
Have words drop numb at your touch and arrange them in easy-to-carry-in-the-heart images.

The unique magic of Michael Cheval’s imagination is always a source of inspiration.

© Iulia Halatz

I am delighted that five of my poems were included in the Sudden Denouement Anthology Volume I. The anthology is now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Stardust Business

My students once asked me if I would ever invest in stardust (at a business course). The question caught me a little offhand. But I said Yes. Provided I attach great value to the shiny star particles.

People buy for two reasons, to increase pleasure and to alleviate pain. These are words from my copywriting course, partly inspired by Sigmund Freud’s words. Simple as this, but not everybody can sell a dream…

Why would you buy stardust? For its attributes? It is golden, sticky, and shiny…Stardust is that “intangible product” with a promise labelled. Selling stardust is like selling services, which I have been doing for the past 5 years. It is like harvesting autumns, and pocketing the sun… So damn hard and so damn beautiful…You make-believe that the world is imperfect without your promise. As we already live in a world of perfect plenty. What is there more to want?

Can I sell stardust? “I wonder,…,if I could sell blessings?” – as deftly put by John Galsworthy in The Modern Comedy. You can sell anything provided it is backed up by shiny strong network of dust, forming the embodiment of your dream, or your organizational culture. Your culture is both sticky cobweb and maze. It must stick to your buyers’ hearts and make them ask for more…directions to get out of the maze. The mission is the story and the engine. It beacons and shines to those who see.

“Stuff your eyes with wonder… live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
Ray Bradbury

What is the world made of?  “The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words, and that if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.” – Terence McKenna  

See the world and read its texture, follow the wind and translate its whisperings. When days are grim, write few lines. When hope seems to have moved to another realm, write another story and listen to another human on quest for Better. When your soul disintegrates, assemble words to paint a picture that you can visit any time you want. Bring shiny warm words to the Moveable Feast I call writing.

“If the world is cold, make it your business to start fires” – Horace Traubel. Start a fire or at least gather wood each day. Do something different. Sing a credible song, play a beautiful tune. Attune people to your song. Leave them better than you found them.

© Iulia Halatz

Art – Stardust by Rob Gonsalves.

Writing is a ladder

Writing is a ladder out of Chaos.

My Tyrannosaurus writing has found me a path out of chaos. Chaos amidst which I found myself while trying to develop my business. Then I did not know that business world is sharks’ empire. I put it in writing in my Shark Tale.

Writing must be something of an Iron Tale, must be tough and sincere to the core of human perception of pain as valor. I remain the grumpy T-Rex who started writing out of pain, not necessarily because of a broken world. But now and then with words we glue shards and pieces and put them together with blood. As we sometimes taste blood, ours or others’.

“Of all writings I love only that which is written with blood. Write with blood: and you will discover that blood is spirit.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Be the one who cares, make words so disruptive that they create new worlds, hopes and dreams. Even if we are unhappy dinosaurs and find shelter in an Iron Tale or ruminate about feeling too much, whilst declaring colorless apparel, we should take power and strength from our stories. “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”- Joan Didion

Writing is a ladder to the sky in your mouth when you are in love. 

Pay toll to love in words. If I sing songs to the blooming trees, they remain in bloom. My words protect them from smothering summers and mellow autumns. The “herbivore” writing is sweet and protective. Still they are disruptive words that create ladders and unite…people and their stories.

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart, one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” – Marvin J. Ashton

 

Art by Milla von Luttich.