Monday, April 30, 2012

The Three Essential Elements to Starting a Creative Business

I keep getting questions about what's really needed in order to start a creative business.  Sure, I have all those books called Craft, Inc. and The Handmade Marketplace too, but none of them ever answered any of my hard hitting business questions, either...  So here goes, my best business advice from years of studying and researching and preparing to start a business of my very own (which I should have done sooner!):

1. You need to decide, definitively, that it's time to start calling yourself a business and acting like one...  This means that you need to work even when you don't feel like it.  This means that you need to make schedules for yourself.  And stick to them.  This means that you are, in fact, a real live business.  Stop making excuses and studying up on how to become a business, and just do it!  Then do step #2 immediately!

2. You need an accountant.  A good accountant is worth every penny.  They will help clear up the answers to all of your money questions and put all your worries at ease. They can answer things like, "How do I pay taxes?" "How do I pay myself?" and all of those other burning questions I am sure you have.  The reason why those books I mentioned above never tell you any of those things is because it's different in every state and for every business.  So hire an accountant.  It really is worth it.  My only regret is that I should have done this sooner!!

3. You need good training and business mentors!  You are not an island.  There's no need to reinvent the wheel.  I could go on and on and talk in cliches forever...but I am not going to do that to you!  Instead, I am going to tell you that you need information, good information, from people who have been there before you.  Even someone who is just a few months out, like me, has a lot more information about working for themselves up their sleeves than someone who is still at their day job daydreaming about quitting.  I was that girl once!  I have learned soooooo much in these last few months of study and working for myself, that I feel like I am about to burst with information sometimes!  A big part of that is the fact that there is so much more to be said for actually implementing the information rather than just learning about it.  I have paid for online creative business courses, PDF's, and I have business mentors whom I can email and ask questions to...

Step #1 is free, and Steps #2 and #3 will cost money.  Please don't let that stop you!  Think of all three steps as huge investments in your future if you ever plan to work for yourself and live your creative dreams. 

I do have a few more recommendations about Step #3, and that is to tell you what classes and resources I have used. 

Remember my interview with April Bowles-Olin from the Blacksburg Belle?  Well, I am currently enrolled in her class "Six Weeks to a More Passion-Filled and Profitable Business," and it's been amazing.  You should check out her site and take advantage of all the free resources she has made available to you...  She is sharing some awesome business strategies that you won't want to miss.  I am not an affiliate of April's, and she doesn't even know I am posting this, but I just wanted to mention her again on my blog because her classes have been so valuable to me and my business. 


While I'm at it, here are a few more wonderful things I have been finding online lately.  (Since I was sick, I was spending a lot of time online looking for inspiration...)

*Tavi Gevinson Slays It At TEDxTeen With Her Speech On Pop Culture And Feminism

*The Antidote to Consumerism Isn't Minimalism, It's Art.  I couldn't have said this better myself!

*Another one I couldn't have said better: Creativity is a Precious Commodity.

I hope your week is off to a wonderfully creative start!

Leave a comment below and let me know if starting a creative business is something you see in your future...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Since I Quit My Day Job...

I wrote this on my desk so that I can refer to it every time I think about how miserable I was just a few months ago.  Back then, I had trapped myself in a job I hated and wasn't doing anything that I was passionate about.

Since I quit my day job...

*I have woken up naturally with no alarm every single day.  This is huge.  I wake up when I am ready - anywhere from 6am to 11am, and being able to create my own sleep and wake schedule has been seriously life changing.  I always feel rested, fully present, and ready to work when I am awake.

*I am getting used to the ups and downs of having a pieced together income, rather than getting a steady paycheck.  For me, this is mostly about learning to save money rather than spend it as soon as I get it.  Big changes, but they are good  for me.

*I am spending more time with the people (and doggy) who matter to me, and this is a wonderful thing.

*I am thinking and learning again!  I feel like I was asleep for the last three years while working my day job, and now my mind has reawakened with a vengeance, wanting to grow and learn as much as possible.

*I am writing and drawing and painting again!  I did always try to do a bit of writing/drawing/painting while I was working the day job, but now I can really focus on it, and that kind of focus has brought better work to the surface, in my opinion.

*I have learned a lot about adaptability.  I can plan out my whole week on Monday, then by Monday afternoon, I'll get an illustration assignment or something to do, and my whole schedule will change.  I am learning to be okay with that and am getting used to it.

*I have added exercise into my daily routine, now that I have time for it, and I feel more energized than ever!  I think the last time I worked out was in high school gym class, ha ha.  I have already lost ten pounds since starting to exercise 3 months ago.

*I have been thinking more about food and what I put into my body.  Rather than jamming fast food at my lunch breaks - like I usually did during my previous job - I cook at home, eat slowly, make healthier choices, enjoy the act of nourishing myself.  Between that and the exercise, I feel totally different in my body, and it's a great feeling!  I have been reading Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet and wholeheartedly recommend it.

*As I said in my previous post, I am currently working on changing my relationship with STUFF and THINGS.  I think this is due not only to the reoccurring dream I have about clutter but also to the fact that I am at home so much now and am around my things a whole lot.  I feel like I want to have less, downside, simplify.  I started a new tumblr about this yesterday, tracking everything I get rid of with a photograph.  It's called Things I Used to Own.

*I still feel regret that I did not leave my previous job sooner, but I am working on forgiving myself for that.  Maybe I wasn't ready and the timing wasn't right until now.  All I know is that I feel more and more like myself every day that I have been self-employed, and I love this feeling.

I hope you are in the middle of a fun and creative weekend. 

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Just a Little Bit of Uncensored Free Writing...

Here is a little bit from my journal today - written fast to bypass the inner critic and get to the core of my thoughts...  Jumbled up thoughts, no grammer, no polishing.

Doors are opening up and inspiration is spilling out.

My pup asleep next to me in a quiet room.

Waiting on texts from mom and thinking that I should be working because now that I am self-employed, I should be working all the time, right? 

Day & night, night & day...

Trying to turn this worrying-about-money-thing into worrying about contribution and what I can give back... 

What do I hold back when I should just give in and let go?

Tell my stories; share my secrets; give this all I've got.

Just write. 

Just draw.

Just go, and whatever you do, don't stop to pause or decide or worry...

Just relax, and the thoughts will crystallize under your hands like glimmering stones.

Friday, April 06, 2012

This Moment...

I am loving...

*Watching my pup, Ruby Roo, play and frolic outside in the green grass and wildflowers...

*Making these somewhat guilt-free pumpkin cupcakes and icing...

*The OWN Network, especially on Monday nights (Lifeclass)...

*The Julia Rothman composition notebooks I found at Target...

*Planning for a day of video filming with my friend Kristina tomorrow...

*Reading and writing and learning all week long... Expanding my mind feels so good!

*Drawing and painting all week long... Yesyesyes!

I hope you had a wonderful week too!  What were some of your highlights?