Business

Interview with Clare Bowditch on Being Resonant

Part of being creative is that I LOVE trying new things.  As I’ve been creating my new e-course, I’ve been recording podcasts and video interviews galore, which has been new to me and so much fun. And I thought, since the early bird prices end on the course registration this coming Monday 9th Feb, that I might give you a little taster of the general awesomeness that you will find in the Holistic Business Mapping e-course that starts on March 2nd.

This little interview with singer/songwriter and entrepreneur Clare Bowditch was such a treat for me to do.  I’ve long thought Clare was pretty ace, from way back at my CERES market days in Melbourne when I would sell my clothes at my little market stall and she worked the organic fruit and veggie stand.  From little things big things grow!

Late last year, I had the pleasure of spending some time with C.B. Bali.  I think there are very few creative professionals out there of such calibre as Clare that are so generous with their time and information.  But you see, Clare is one of those success stories who remembers that once upon a time, she knew nothing about being a creative professional either.  This was one of the big inspirations behind creating her labour of love Big Hearted Business, to help others connect with the information they need to make their creative dream a business reality.  And it’s one of the reasons I love her too, as it was at her very first conference that a fire was lit under me to start Creative Conversation.

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you will know that I often focus on how important it is [...]

Coming Clean About My Business ‘Achilles Heel’

I want to come clean about something to you all.  Today, I embarked on my latest marketing campaign for my e-course.  My e-course is all about taking an holistic approach to business planning, which may give the impression that I am somehow in a Zen state about the whole business process. I’m here to bust that illusion- I most absolutely am NOT zen with online marketing.  In fact my internal wrestle with the whole process of marketing is something that I still struggle with and nearly undoes me every single time.  But it is a necessary and unavoidable part of the business process- particularly the line of work that I am in, and it does none of you any service to hide the fact that I struggle with it, because I know for a fact that a lot of you struggle with it too.So lets have a frank chat about this shall we?

Why am I telling you about this? Because it’s good to come clean about your ‘Achilles Heel’ which, by it’s nature, runs deep to your emotional core and has the power to take you down. Do you know that story of Achilles?  Achilles was an ancient Greek warrior who fought in the Trojan war (tee hee, I almost wrote worrier, great Freudian slip:-).  He was the greatest warrior around, completely invulnerable to injury, being the son of a goddess and a King, except for in one place and that place was his vulnerability- his heel.  It was an arrow in his heel that finally brought him down and killed him.  It’s such a great metaphor for the secret places we conceal from the world for fear that they may destroy us.So back to my marketing ‘Achilles Heel’.

Now I’m quite clear that marketing will not [...]

Resonance- The Hum of Knowing…

In my 15 years of selling clothes to women I have seen a phenomenon happen over and over.  It is so mundane, that I can guarantee that you yourself will have done it. But the significance of this phenomenon could easily be missed.

It usually goes something like this: woman spies something nice in the shop.  It’s usually the first thing that takes her eye (Dudes, imagine you are at Bunnings!). She comes in and asks to try it on.  It’s perfect. It fits a treat, the colour is right and she looks like she was born to wear it.  What does she do next?  She then proceeds to try on everything else in the store just to see if there is anything better.  None of these are right. They all fit badly, the colour is wrong, we don’t have her size. She feels like her hips are too wide, the tops of her arms are flabby and she has ugly knees. And then, eventually, after an hour or so of torturing herself, she buys the first item she tried on.

Sound familiar to anyone? You might do it in a clothing store, or you might do it in your business- questioning that first instinct only to torture yourself with an unnecessarily overwhelming myriad of choices.

The interesting thing to notice in this scenario is that 9 1/2 times out of 10, the woman intuitively chooses the item that is right for her, IMMEDIATELY.  She is magnetically drawn to it, she loves it, it feels right, it looks right.  Something in her senses its perfect dimensions and qualities for her before she even lays her hands on it.  She resonates with it.

Let me say that again, SHE [...]

What is it about Creativity?

What is it about creativity that so fascinates us? What is it about creativity that makes us feel so deeply satisfied when we practice, and makes us revere it when we see it expressed clearly and unabashedly in others?

When I started my clothing label some 15 years ago, stuck at it, and made it a success, I can’t tell you how many times I would find myself looking into the starry-eyes of someone saying how wonderful it must be to be creative every day. When I started out, this was the very thing that spurred me on – my love of the creative act and my desire to earn my living from it.

At the time, I was being creative by making clothing, so that is what I built a business around. That business allowed me the scope to investigate my creativity in a number of ways, far beyond the act of designing and making clothing. It also taught me that making a business out of something you love can take you away from the act of being creative more than bring you to it, but that is story for another day.

In a way, the act of creating a business is one of the ultimate forms of creativity. You are creating your life and your living on so many levels, from every single decision that you make, that sometimes its actually hard to make a move, in case you create the wrong thing.

I’ve been really taking my time with the development of Creative Conversation, partly because I am aware that I am capable of creating what I set my mind and heart to, so I want to ground my mind in my heart in the [...]

Is Creative Business A Spiritual Path?

I’ve been mulling something over for quite some time, wondering if I should express this point of view here (the brave and honest thing to do, in my estimation) or just leave the whole thing alone (otherwise known as the cowards way out).  But I have to say it, because I’ve been around long enough to know that if you are going to put yourself out there in the way that I am with Creative Conversation, you have to be 100% honest about who and what you are about, otherwise isn’t it all really just bullshit?

So here it is…drum roll please….I think that the creative business path is really one of the most spectacular spiritual paths you can be on.  There.  I said it.  I think business is a spiritual path and that is the way that I treat it. And thus, it is the way that I want to communicate about it.  And if you think that’s a load of BS, then I bid you a very warm sayonara, it’s been nice knowing you.  Because from henceforth, I will not be talking about business in a way that about a million other business coaches today are.

I will not be skirting around the edges of something that I think is a fact – You, as a creative professional, made your business because you LOVE what you do.  You feel CALLED to what you do, and you wish to make a commitment, through thick and thin, to make that creative path that you love your main gig.  Sounds an awful lot like a spiritual path if you ask me.

And here is another thing – the journey you are on in creating that business, giving it [...]

Having A Business Means ‘Making it Up’….A Lot!

Last week I was honored to speak at the Darebin Arts Creative Business Seminar Series. It was a 90 minute seminar in which I shared, quite frankly, my top 10 “Things I Wish I Had Known” when I was starting out in my clothing label,  Manque Design, some 14 years ago.

I could do a bit of a breakdown of what the talk entailed, and I probably will at some stage of the game. But what I really want to discuss is something that I touched on in the talk and extended upon rather hugely in my personal development in carrying off this event.

That thing was: “Things I wish I had known: No.2: HAVING A BUSINESS MEANS ‘MAKING IT UP’…A LOT!”

When you start out in a small business, you basically begin a process of exposing yourself to a large number of things that you have never done before. Learning how to do your books, learning social media marketing, figuring out how to have conversations with clients that sell. The list is endless really. And what this requires is a willingness to think on your feet and trust in your natural ability to figure stuff out.  This is what I mean when I say “making it up”.

Some ‘entrepreneurial types’ are unnervingly comfortable with this – their willingness to try new things on for size just part of their everyday swagger. But for most of us, it’s not so easy. Many of the tasks required of us, make us squirm with unease, with a lack of trust in ourselves that we will be able to pull it off, whatever ‘it’ is.

Last week I heard a quote, it went something like this: “For most humans, their greatest fear [...]

Are You Addicted to Business Being Hard?

I was for the longest time and it is still a habit I am trying to unlearn. It is so easy believe that you have to do a certain thing because you think or have been told that it is the way to do it, that it is guaranteed to bring you success.   And such an approach is very alluring for the creative professional trying to pave their way in the business world. But following this path of the ‘right way to do’ also happens to be, in my opinion, the fast track to making your work life feel hard.

It’s one thing to try new things and see what works for you, it is quite another to employ a method or approach to business and keep doing it even if the process itself makes you miserable.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I have a few clients who are approaching the time in their creative business where they are deciding whether or not they would like to wholesale or take on a more commercial approach to selling their work on a bigger scale, or keep it smaller and more boutique, perhaps not bringing in the big bucks, but maintaining a smaller profile and their role as a maker.

Neither approach is innately right or wrong. But I believe the most important question is not “how can I make more money?” but “Will the daily tasks that this approach to business brings be enjoyable to me or will they feel super-hard?”

There is a subtle but huge difference between putting yourself out of your comfort zone and trying things on for size, and keeping on doing something because you think you should. One denotes [...]

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    Which Business Model is Right for You? The Essential Questions to Ask Yourself.

Which Business Model is Right for You? The Essential Questions to Ask Yourself.

One of the issues I assist creative people with most frequently in my consulting and coaching practice is figuring out which business model they want to pursue.  There are so many options these days for how to go about structuring your business and how to go about selling your product or service that it can be really tricky to figure out which is the right way for you.

There is no simple answer to this, though the internet seems to be full these days of online companies that offer you ‘the’ strategy to achieve a six-figure income.  Such offers can be very alluring, particularly for creatives who are struggling to bring in the income they would like to.  But you really need to ask yourself are these promises sustainable?  Are they relevant to an Australian market (if you are indeed Australian like me).?  And last, but certainly not least, is the business model and the tasks required of you to action it actually something that you want to do? Let me repeat DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THE JOB YOU ARE SIGNING UP FOR?  I find it staggering how many people do not really think carefully about this question.  And lately I’m hearing lots of creatives complain about how much time these seem to spend in front of the computer.

It is true that the internet has offered us freedom to earn like never before for creative professionals.  Do it yourself websites that cost barely nothing and retina displays that offer excellent visuals have made it possible to market your art anywhere in the world.  And ‘must do’ online marketing methodologies seem to be popping up like new religions everywhere!  All well and good, and [...]