Why being lazy can be good for business

AUTHOR Q&A: Tom Hodgkinson, author of Business for Bohemians, offers entrepreneurial advice for the creative type.

by Kate Bassett
Last Updated: 21 Oct 2016

What made you write this book?

Most business books are big boasting sessions written by millionaires. There seemed to be a gap for a funny, humane business book that talked honestly about the difficulties of running a small business. I wanted to demystify the spreadsheet, learn to love digital marketing and encourage bohemians to become a little more money-focused. I'm afraid that through most of the book I was more Basil Fawlty than Richard Branson.

Can bohemians really make decent entrepreneurs? The bohemian mindset has much in common with the entrepreneurial mindset: it's all about freedom. They are people who are temperamentally unsuited to the nine to five. Damien Hirst and many artists, TV chefs, writers and actors have taken their own creativity and turned it into a successful business. So yes, bohemians can make decent entrepreneurs. But they have to shed their distaste for profit!

You say crowdfunding is the most difficult thing you've done. Why?

People have the idea that you make a video, put it out online and watch the dollars roll in. In fact, you have to raise pretty much every penny through hard sweat. And that means trudging round with your laptop, presenting your business plan and slide deck to potential investors. Although the process was hell, it forces you to think through every detail of your business. And it worked, so I am not complaining. Just take your time: it took us six months. And don't ask your friends for money.

When is laziness a virtue?

Laziness means time to think and do nothing. It can mean efficiency too, because it's the lazy ones who invent clever ways of doing things. It is also creatively fertile: doing nothing produces ideas.

Business for Bohemians: Live Well, Make Money, is published by Portfolio Penguin, £12.99

Image credit: Michael Nutt/Wikipedia

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