Business Design

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?- Part II

My last blog post on this subject generated some really interesting comments. One of these, from Samara Greenwood, expressed a view that I think is shared by many, so I wanted to expand on that in this post. Her insightful comments were:

Hi Susan,
Loved this post. Interestingly, I am one of those people that shy away from the word spiritual in general (can’t explain exactly why) yet I totally agree with everything you have said here! I was wondering though, could you describe a bit more about what you mean by ‘spiritual path’? In the sense that it means personal development & growth – & being our most honest selves in the world – I’m completely onboard. I wonder what else you might be alluding to when you say it though – would you be happy to expand on this? Thanks! Sam x

The question of my creative business being a spiritual path is a deeply personal one, and one that it has taken me a really long time to come around to.  I have in fact avoided saying this very thing because of the weirdness that people can have around the word spiritual, or the notion of a spiritual path. But I can think of no other adequate way to describe how my business experience is for me.

For many years – most of which I was running Manque Design (my clothing label) – I was trying to grow according to traditional business wisdom, but my gut was increasingly telling me to move in a different direction. I resisted this for a really long time, because who the hell walks away from successful clothing label, when you’ve slogged your guts out on for years, and [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]