BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
is branding & business visioning
for creative entrepreneurs.

Summer barbeques, holiday dinners, and family reunions are always a little tricky for the creative entrepreneur. Why? Because you have to explain what you do in a way that makes you sound like the successfully self-employed badass you are and not an unemployed starving artist who may or may not be considering going back to grad school for a little bit of legitimacy. But sometimes what we do for a living isn’t just a mystery to our great aunt – sometimes our parents or even our partner-in-crime don’t even really know what it is we do or what our days look like. So how can we explain to distant relatives, acquaintances we network with, or even our nearest and dearest to “get” what we do as creative professionals? 

Kathleen here. I’m a creative entrepreneur who runs the show with my sister Tara. Our business model isn’t super traditional and we wear a lot of hats. So even though it’s my job to help other creatives position themselves in a way that makes them super hireable it’s not always easy to offer a concise answer to “what do you do?” for myself. So today I thought I’d offer up a few scripts for how Tara and I explain what we do depending on the context of who’s asking. 



TARA and THE BARISTA 
Tara goes to the same coffee shop every morning. The baristas know exactly how she likes her coffee but they don’t know what she does for a living. 
BARISTA: Bold coffee with room? 
TARA: You know it. 
BARISTA: [Eyeing Tara’s creative outfit of casual denim shorts paired with a light grey summery blazer.] So … what exactly do you do? 
TARA: I’m a writer. 
BARISTA: Oh cool! What do you write about? 
TARA: Actually I write for other creative entrepreneurs who need help explaining what they do. 
BARISTA: Wow, fancy. Here’s your coffee. Have a great day! 

So, Tara’s solution is to simply say she’s a writer. If the person asking wants to know more they’ll ask – and Tara will gladly continue to explain what she does in the simplest of terms (without industry jargon or a lot of vague descriptions). Now, this can be the same tactic you use for distant relatives at family get-togethers. The point is – if the person asking isn’t a dream customer they don’t really need to know much more than the broadest description of what you do for a living. 



KATHLEEN and THE COOL CREATIVE 
I tend to have lots of coffee dates with really cool creative entrepreneurs. Inevitably we run into other creatives who I get introduced to. Now, these people are my dream customer so it’s important to be a little more descriptive about what I do (because I could probably do it for them.) 
CREATIVE A: Hey Cool Creative B, meet Kathleen. She owns Braid Creative with her sister, Tara. 
CREATIVE B: Oh that’s cool! What do you guys do at Braid Creative? 
KATHLEEN: I do a lot of blogging, creative direction, and consulting to help other creative entrepreneurs brand themselves … but what I really love is coaching other creative professionals in a way that helps them align who they are with what they do. 
CREATIVE B: Oh wow! You know, I’ve been thinking about blogging – maybe that’s something I can talk to you about? 
KATHLEEN: You should totally start blogging – it’s such a great way to create community on a personal level and connect to potential dream customers on a professional level. I’d love to chat with you more about it. Let’s set up a date. 

Now, obviously this is an ideal kind of conversation. They don’t always go exactly like this but truly it’s not too far off. As you can see – I get a lot more specific about what I do than Tara did with the barista, for example. Sometimes I’ll change what I say to be more branding-focused rather than coaching-focused just depending on who I’m talking to and how much I perceive they’ll “get” based on the context of our conversation. Either way – both “scripts” leave you open to explain more about what you do based on how much the other person actually cares or needs to know. 

Here are some other posts that might help you say what you do: 
• Are you burying your own headline?  
• Stop apologizing so much when you talk about what you do. 
• You gotta sell yourself, but can you stop proving it so hard? 

Also, this Friday I’ll be sending out a Letters for Creatives chatting more about how to share what we do with our parents and partners who don’t quite understand what exactly it is we do for a living. Sign up to get our newsletters delivered straight to your inbox here. 

If you need help setting routines and imagining your ideal work day try my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s just $40 for 4 weeks of guidance delivered straight to your inbox. You can sign up anytime. 

Also, this month’s Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do will help you find authenticity and alignment in the personal and professional. This ECourse is one of our most popular and will be in-session from August 22-31. 

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22-Jul-2014

Tara and I started Braid Creative right at three years ago from my 1920s tudor-style home located just a hop and a skip from downtown Oklahoma City. After a couple of years of growing our little business from my guest bedroom, I got pregnant and found myself needing some work / life separation. That’s when we decided to rent an office space to call our own. For the last year we’ve really enjoyed having a space to call our very own (plus the incentive it gave us to get dressed). And if I’m being completely honest, having rent and utilities set up in our business’ name made us feel capital “L” Legit. An office space seemed to complete the picture of success we had painted for ourselves as creative entrepreneurs. 

Kathleen here. I recently decided to move out of that 1920s house and into a new home. I didn’t move far – just a hop and a skip from where I was. But my new house (a rad mid-century modern 1950s split-level ranch) just so happens to be across the street from my sister and business partner, Tara. So with that, after a year of proving to ourselves how credible and successful we were by paying overhead on an office space, we decided to bring Braid Creative back home. 

When you work from home it’s easy to let work bleed into life and let boundaries slide. It’s easy to feel isolated and unprofessional when you’re working in your pajamas from your bed. So today I’m going to share a few ideas on how to keep the personal and professional blend that comes with working from home feeling ideal.

1. Remember, You’re Not A Homemaker 
Just because you work from home does not mean that you have time to be a full time homemaker and build the creative career of your dreams. So don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to tend to the laundry, dishes, cooking, and cleaning during work hours. Also, if you have a partner or family living with you it’s important to communicate this point to them as well. 

2. Create a Sacred Working Space 
Whether it’s in your kitchen nook, on your couch, or in a dedicated room with a door, make the space you work best in as conducive to your creativity as possible. Some ideas for creating a sacred workspace might include: lighting a candle or incense, decorating your walls with art work or inspiring magazine clippings, keeping your space uncluttered, and having your favorite mug full of your favorite pens close by. Brainstorm what works for you. It’s important to respect and like the space you’re working in. 

(I’ll be writing more about how your physical space can affect your work, for better or worse, in this week’s Braid newsletter going out on Friday morning. Sign up to receive our exclusive Letters for Creatives here.)

3. Get Out of Your House 
The hardest part about working from home can be feeling a bit isolated from your community. So make it a point to get out a few times a week. I like meeting local clients and creative peers at my favorite coffee shop. I also like to get some fresh air with a morning walk before I begin my day. 

4. Do Something You Couldn’t Do at An Office 
One of the best parts about working from home is doing things you couldn’t do at an office. Here are just a few ideas: cook yourself a delicious meal in the middle of the day, tend to your garden, watch a movie, do some chores (if that floats your boat), take a bubble bath, or lay out and soak up some sun. Do something fun and different every week – it will remind you why you love working for yourself from your very own space. 

To be honest, Tara and I were concerned that we were taking a step back by moving our business back home. After a few weeks of weighing our options and processing what we really wanted for ourselves and our business, we realized that we had become attached to a vision of success (having an office space) that no longer served us. We acknowledged that our ideal days happen when we straddle the fine line that is work and life. We’re the same people at home and work, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. 

Other blog posts you might like: 
Considering A Coworking Space – an alternative to working from home or an office
Shedworking On My Mind – Tara is STILL talking about building a shed in her backyard 
The Daycare Dilemma – a personal post about how I decided to send my baby to daycare 
 
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If you need help setting routines and imagining your ideal work day try my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s just $40 for 4 weeks of guidance delivered straight to your inbox. You can sign up anytime. 

Also, this month’s Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do will help you find authenticity and alignment in the personal and professional. This ECourse is one of our most popular and will be in-session from August 22-31. 

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As a young creative professional my biggest fear was not having enough ideas. Now as a creative entrepreneur my biggest fear is not knowing what to do with All The Ideas. Kathleen here, and I must confess – I’ve been feeling really creative lately. From product launches to new business plans, ideas seem to strike in the middle of yoga class, while running errands, and my personal favorite, at 4am in the morning (insomnia, anyone?). While it’s a good problem to have, too many ideas can confuse you (and your clients), diffuse your energy, leave you feeling scattered, and even paralyze your ability to make decisions and take action. And I know I’m not alone – most of my clients and creative peers seem to have the same trouble with too many ideas. 

So today I want to share one simple approach for dealing with an abundance of ideas: 

WHEN YOU HAVE TOO MANY IDEAS PUT THEM ON THE SHELF
Literally write down all your ideas, put them in a jar, and put that jar on a shelf. Alternatively, you can get more organized (and perhaps a bit less dramatic) and shelve your ideas in a notebook. Evernote is also a great place to collect all your thoughts. The idea (heh) is to have a place to capture your ideas so you can get them out of your head and tend to them when the time is right. 

You’ll find some ideas keep rising to the top and will eventually be worth executing. And on the flipside you will no longer be wasting mental energy on ideas that don’t have traction – making room for the ones that do.

(P.S. Here’s a helpful post for when you’re ready to take your ideas out of the jar and turn your vision into action.)  

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The one place you never want to share every idea that pops into your head is in your content – that includes your blog, website, business offerings and business conversations. Want to learn more? Try our Braid ECourse Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You – it’s in session this Friday, July 18 - 27. That means you only have through this Thursday to register. Learn more about what to expect and see if it’s a good fit for you here. 

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