A Little Bit More about how Creative Conversation Was Born….

My name is Susan Nethercote.  My first business success was (and is) a women’s clothing label called Manque Design (See ‘About’ page).  I began this business in 2000 and it has sustained me since.  My experience with Manque has been quite the love/hate relationship. It has taken me to dizzying heights of delight at my own success and also crushing lows realising that my ‘success’ was unfortunately at the expense of my health, my peace of mind and, sometimes, my friends.

I have done business the ‘right’ way, i.e.- the way that the business world tells you to run a business- and it could not have been more wrong for me and the people around me.  I had a business that was growing beautifully on paper, even in the face of a global financial crisis.  But I also developed a variety of ailments that were result of the stress I was under.  I had become the ‘manager’ of a business, rather than the vibrant creative, hands-on soul I started out as.  I was an employer of several lovely people, but I despised the role and the hours of administration it created. And I found myself having to make more and more money to cover the growing list of overheads I seemed to accrue.  The growth of my business, according to traditional business wisdom, gave me a job that made me deeply unhappy.

I tried everything I could in the hope of discovering the ‘magic formula’ of running a successful small business where you could have both financial success and personal happiness.   I did every small business short course I could get my hands on.  I read many books. I employed, at great expense, a business development consultant.  I entered therapy to deal with what was obviously ‘wrong’ with me if I couldn’t be grateful and happy for my own success.  I implemented strategy after strategy to try and make my business, as it was, ‘ok’ for me.  But it never was. Not in the form that I had built it.  I was simply moving deckchairs around on the Titanic.

It took a few years, and they were abundant years, to come to the inevitable conclusion, that what was wrong could never be ‘fixed’ with a bit of preening and poking.  What I eventually realised was that it was not ‘me’ (and trust me, I worked on ‘me’ like there was no tomorrow!) who was the problem here, it was the structure of my business.  And it was not that there was anything technically ‘wrong’ with the structure of my business, it was simply that my BUSINESS AND I WERE NOT A GOOD FIT FOR EACH OTHER!

….Why do we continue to model businesses in such at way that they create disharmony, dissatisfaction and disappointment in their owner’s lives?…Whey are creative professionals not supported in creating businesses creatively?…

What a relief it was to finally figure that out!  To finally come to a place where it was ok for me to give myself permission to re-create my business into something that was structured in such a way that it suited me.  And not the wanky, successful, fashion designer me that I had always been imagining when I built the first model of my business, but the real, authentic ME, with all my quirks!

And this time, I did it very differently.  I did it organically and intuitively.  I took time to consider what my true priorities were in my life, like my husband and my children, taking care of my own health and well-being.   I really looked at what I most loved about my business and what I did not like, and went about finding a way to maximise what I liked and minimised what I didn’t:

I.e. don’t like being an employer= run a smaller business that I can manage myself.

I.e.: Do like creating clothes and selling them= do so from an online business without the overheads.

You get the drift.

But something else also emerged in this process.  There was another business baby gestating in me.  It was something that I felt so passionate about sharing and it is the message that you are reading here.  And it is something that emerged from these questions:

1)   Why do we continue to model businesses in such a way that they create disharmony, dissatisfaction and disappointment their owner’s lives?

2)   Why to we continue to sell the ‘bigger is better’ mentality when it comes to building businesses, when maybe its not?

3)   Why are creative business people, who are predominantly right-brained, trying to create businesses according to a left-brained model? (Which is a little like shoving a round peg into a square hole)

4)   Why are creative business people not supported in creating businesses creatively?

It is these questions that have led me to creating a whole new business: Creative Conversation, which is all about showing creative business people how to create businesses creatively.  It is also about approaching business as an extension of your life- holistically- so that the business is an authentic and innately satisfying experience for the creative should that owns and runs it.  I have 13 years of hands-on, gritty creative business experience; coaching and facilitating qualifications; and 3 years experience with working one on one with some awesome creative professional people.  I also continue to operate mu successful label and online store Manque Design, so all methods have been tried and tested on yours truly!  More importantly, however, I have a sincere passion for teaching other creative business people how to have a genuinely satisfying and rewarding  experience in creating and running their businesses.