Everything you really need to launch a business, according to this Entrepreneur art book

In this ongoing series, we share tips, advice, and insights from real entrepreneurs who fight the business battle every day. (Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.)

Who are you and what is your business?

My name is Kim Bjørn, a designer, musician, author, and CEO and Founder of Bjooks, a Danish boutique publisher operating around the world creating hardback books on music technology, artists, and creators. Since 2017, we’ve published just seven titles, but have sold tens of thousands of them around the world, to world-renowned recording artists, as well as hobbyist musicians, students, and tech nerds who admire a good old physical book. We’re known for packing inspiration and information into beautifully designed books that no one saw coming.

What inspired you to create this business?

After years of teaching interface design and also playing music, I began to wonder “Why do these electronic instruments and interfaces look the way they do?”. There has been very little tradition and much invention in this area of ​​electronic instruments (as opposed to acoustic instruments like the violin, for example, which have looked and functioned much the same for centuries). So I started “collecting” images of instruments and interfaces, driven by my curiosity and the fact that I couldn’t find any literature about it. I guess that was my aha moment: no one had created what I wanted to have, so I had to create it myself; a book on interface design in electronic music.

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What has been your biggest challenge and how did you pivot to overcome it?

My biggest challenge was that I didn’t believe in myself enough. Years passed with sketches in the drawer until finally there was a window of opportunity when the legendary electronic artist Jean-Michel Jarre arrived in Copenhagen. A friend of mine had a connection, so I could meet him for 15 minutes. I decided that this was my moment: I wanted Jarre (my childhood hero) to write the foreword, and I wanted to know what he thought of the idea. But I only had a week to create a book cover mockup, sample pages, and a description of the project.

After working all day, when we finally met, he loved the idea and there was an instant connection. As soon as she was on board, the rest was much easier. I had faith in myself and the project went on. I started on the blue ocean, as it was the first well-illustrated book on this subject, and no one had seen this type of book coming for a worldwide community. However, there was a global niche. I never thought I’d make old-school hardcover books for a living, but even in these high-tech times, I think people appreciate physical objects even more, especially when they’re well-made and with a lot of passion. poured into them.

When it comes to tapping into creativity, do you have a method that works for you to break writer’s block?

Yeah! I have to say that I got blocked several times during the creation of my first international book. What if it was a bad idea? However, at some point, I said to myself, “You know what? I’ll regret it until the end of my days if I don’t give it a chance.” So I made a yellow note and taped it to the top of my computer screen with this sentence: “Just misspell it!” I realized that I only had to write something and that I could always correct it, delete it, write something else, etc. This way, at least I got something, and a lot of the time it didn’t read so bad after all.

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What advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking for financing?
Regarding where to look, I would recommend crowdfunding as you get instant validation on your idea. However, create a community first, and then launch the campaign. When you have social proof, you can always go to investors for your next product. Remember, this doesn’t necessarily have to be “that” million dollar idea; it is quite possible that it will arise after you get some experience under your skin. I have never had red numbers, I never owed anything in the company. I also created a concept of working with brands that later financed part of the books.

In terms of preparing for your launch, know your numbers inside out. Check out the competition and be thorough in your research; you want to be sure you haven’t missed something obvious. Be humble (I know, it’s a Scandinavian thing). I have often seen people believe that they have created something the world has never seen before, being arrogant about it, only to lose all credibility because they had not done their job correctly. Part of that is doing your research and knowing who you’re talking to. Always appreciate the time people spend listening to you and your crazy dream, especially when they start buying your products!

What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?

Hard-working, self-made, creative and innovative spirit, with a burning desire to make the world a better place no matter how small or big your idea or world.

What is something that many aspiring business owners think they need that they don’t really need?

Honestly? Investors and a plan. I see too many people who think that this is the only way to start something, grow or achieve the dream. What you really need is discipline, resilience, and an honest, objective look at yourself and your idea. So you have to be flexible and willing to achieve your goals in other ways than you originally imagined. Things rarely happen the way you plan them to.

Is there a particular quote or saying that you use for personal motivation?

“Do it!” We all know where this comes from, and I’ve always loved that quote. There is nothing simpler than that: Not in the mood? Do it. No money or education? Don’t let that stop you. Not sure if you’re going to make it? Fair. Do. Him. It’s the only way to learn what not to do. It is the only way to get closer to your dream. Just take one step at a time, and one day you’ll be there, even if you’ve walked backwards several times, stepped on something, or walked down the wrong paths. Just write a word, a sentence, a page, and suddenly one day there’s a whole book, maybe even a whole life. It’s really that simple.

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