Joining me today is Chandra Clarke, a professional writer, editor, and proofreader -and an entrepreneur. Her company, Scribendi, was founded in 1997. Today, Scribendi is one of the world’s leading document preparation companies and the recipient of numerous awards.
Natalie: Please tell us a bit about yourself and Scribendi.
Chandra: I am the founder, co-owner, and president of Scribendi.com, an online editing and proofreading company based in Ontario, Canada. I hold an honors degree in English and Psychology from Athabasca University, as well as an MSc in Space Exploration Studies from the University of North Dakota. I am also married to a talented Brit and am the proud mother of three young boys.
Natalie: Where did the name Scribendi come from?
Chandra: Scribendi comes from a Latin phrase, cacoethes scribendi, which means “the urge to write.” When I started the business, there were quite a number of independent editors working with business names that were variations of things like “Right Write.” I wanted something that would stand out.
Natalie: What advice do you have for bloggers and entrepreneurs who write as part of their job?
Chandra: I’d give the same advice that I give writers in any format or genre: read. Read the work of people who think like you do, read the work of people who don’t think like you. Read within your field and read things that have absolutely nothing to do with your field. It will keep you fresh and inspired.
Natalie: Any tips for how anyone can improve their writing?
Chandra: After your first draft, the delete button should be your best friend. You can almost always say something with fewer words; concision leads to clarity.
Natalie: I always keep Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style close by and it encourages concision as well. What is a day like for you?
Chandra: I start the day by dealing with my inbox and I try to limit this to an hour; after that, I shut my email program down completely until just before it’s time to call it a day. I then attend to the various “to dos” set for me by my staff. After lunch, I spend the afternoon working on my own tasks, usually a big job that requires 3–4 hours of concentrated attention.
Natalie: What are the three biggest lessons you have learned as an entrepreneur?
- Be assertive—Whether you’re negotiating with a service provider or pitching to a new client, it pays to stick to your guns.
- Be flexible—Things aren’t always going to go as planned (in fact, they rarely ever do!). In order to be successful, you have to be able to run with unexpected leads and navigate unanticipated road blocks.
- Turn off your computer!—Try as you might, you can’t work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Learning how to delegate is an extremely important lesson to learn. Not only will it help you and your company be more efficient, it will also allow you to enjoy your job, which is the whole reason you became an entrepreneur in the first place, right?
Thank you to Chandra who took time out of her busy schedule to chat about entrepreneurship and share writing tips.