BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
is branding & business visioning
for creative entrepreneurs.
16-Dec-2015
Get Specific About Your Goals & Dreams | Braid Creative & Consulting

Get specific about your goals & dreams

The number one problem I’ve found with creatives who are unsatisfied, and can’t seem to find the dream they’re supposed to be living – is that they’re not getting specific enough. Their vision of a well-designed life is made up of vague words and little to no action.

Tara here. I love when Kathleen wrote that. It’s just the kind of love-it-or-hate-it statement she would make, throwing down the gauntlet to creative entrepreneurs (or aspiring-to-be’s) who aren’t really saying what they need to be saying – especially to themselves.

I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say “yep, I tend to not get as specific about my ‘wants’ as I could,” even though I help our clients get incredibly specific and clear in their own business vision and brand messaging – it’s harder to point the wand at yourself. So I feel you, if it feels scary to get specific.

Kathleen first wrote about getting specific when she started coaching creatives about their fears, dreams and vision. She shared a lot of the tools and insights she developed on her personal blog, AndKathleen.com, which has always been her “experimental ground” for sharing what’s she’s up to in her personal and professional life.

Since then, we created a whole lesson in our Braid ECourse dedicated to getting specific, have given workshops and talks around this powerful tool, and it’s still one of the attributes of Kathleen’s that I admire the most: “Oh man, that’s my sister’s super-power! Getting specific and making decisions!”

So even if you’ve read this post before, or heck, done the Braid ECourse worksheets around getting specific about your fears and dreams – we wanted to share it again – as you, and we, wrap up a year of working hard, continue to tackle what’s next, and make our (specific!) visions real.

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“Get specific!”

Kathleen here. Let’s say you want to be passionate and inspired. Then get specific. Describe to me what a passionate and inspired person looks like. How do they behave? How do they move through their day from start to finish?

Or let’s say you want to write more. Awesome. Get specific. What are you writing about? Are you on a laptop or pushing pen to paper? Are you in a coffee shop or a quiet reading nook? Do you have a hot cup of tea or perhaps some whiskey on the rocks accompanying you? Are you journaling? Blogging? Or starting on the next great American novel?

Maybe you just want to be able to pay the bills doing what you love. Get specific about your expenses and how much income you need to make. What will it cost to quit your day job? Or how much do you need to save up to take a month to work on only your own projects? Look at the numbers and do the math.

Or I bet you want to travel more. Where do you want to go? What will you pack? Look at a map and pick a destination. Then look at your calendar and block off time, even if it’s a year in advance and maybe improbable, to take the holiday of your dreams. Browse plane tickets and start researching hotels / campgrounds / hostels. Pretend like you’re about to go on this trip for real.

Dreams don’t happen. They’re made. But first you have to get specific about what that dream looks like.

Here are just a few things I do to get specific when I’m feeling unclear:
• Start a Pinterest board to start bringing texture, color, shape, and form to your vision. (You can follow me & the Braid crew on Pinterest here).
• Try our Ideal Day exercise to really think about what you want to be doing all day.
• Do just one small thing each day that feels dreamy. Be sure to take a mental note and say “I’m living the dream when I _________.”

So I want to know – what’s one specific thing that you want to start doing to make work & life a little more dreamy? Let us know on Instagram or Facebook.

Get specific about your next step

Tara here. Told you it was a good one! Look for more work/life blend posts coming from Braid as we head into the New Year! If you like “Get Specific,” you may just completely fall in love with our Braid ECourse. Lesson One of the ecourse is all about getting specific so that you can clearly define your fears and dreams before you move forward with anything else. Many of our ecourse students have found huge clarity just from this lesson alone! You can sign up for the ecourse or get a free sample to download here.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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What Do Your Want to Be Doing All Day? | Braid Creative & Consulting

What do you want to do in your business

Tara and I work with lots of creatives who want to empower, inspire, champion, and charge. We love some grand vision as much as the next guy but these kinds of lofty goals always leave us asking “Okay, that’s great – but what do you actually want to be doing all day?”

If you can’t identify what your day of empowering and inspiring actually looks like, in very specific detail, than you’re setting yourself up for failure.

A couple weeks ago we touched on this very topic in our Brand Visioning Webinar.

Empowering, inspiring, and championing are really great core values – but what’s the action? (click to tweet) And how do you actually explain how you provide that to your audience?

How to get specific about your business offering

You have to remember that you cannot sell inspiration, you cannot sell empowerment, and you cannot sell customer service. (click to tweet) Those are things that people experience after they’ve already hired you, so you need to get specific about what you’re offering that might create those experiences as a byproduct.

One of the reasons this gets so hard for creative entrepreneurs is because often we have so many different interests, and we don’t want to “limit” ourselves to just one thing. But you have to remember: It just starts with one thing, and you can always add on those layers to weave together your various interests into a cohesive brand later on. Nothing is permanent, you can always change it if it’s not working, but you’ve got to get specific or your followers will be confused as to what it is you’re actually offering.

what do you do

So try this:
Ask yourself: If you could just do one thing all day, every day, what would that be?

Then ask yourself: If you could stop doing one thing, what would that be?

Now, let’s put the big picture aside and get specific about what you want: Do you want to be making things with your hands? Are you designing or delegating? Do your meetings take place in coffee shops or do you prefer to keep your communication streamlined to email? Are you blogging, Tweeting, and / or Facebooking? Are you teaching, guiding, and coaching? What do you want to be known for? Are you selling a service or a product? What’s the deliverable? What’s your creative process? What do you not want to be doing?

If you’re frankly not sure what you want to be doing all day, you’re not alone. Try this exercise to create a specific vision of what you want your ideal day to look like:

We’ve all found ourselves at times feeling overwhelmed, scattered, and spread thin at what’s supposed to be the ever-fulfilling dream job we’ve created for ourselves. I think it’s because we don’t have a clear vision of what we want our life (or job) to actually look like. We’re overlooking the details for a lofty ideal that we can’t quite pinpoint. So sign up for our Letters for Creatives Newsletter to get our Ideal Day worksheet that will help you to really narrow in on your dream day.

Be sure to get as specific as possible about how your future self experiences the day using all five senses – what you feel, what you smell, your environment, the kinds of conversations you’re having, and the work you may or may not be doing. Be mindful about not getting too generic or broad with your vision – the dream is in the details! Start a Pinterest board to bring visuals to your dream day.

Now once you’ve day dreamed about your ideal day take just one element of that day and make it a reality. Start small and commit for 40 days – this will make it more likely that your new dreamy habit sticks! If you can incorporate this aspect of your future ideal day into your present day reality you’re one step closer to living that vision.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to supporting themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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Define Your Creative Process for Entrepreneurs | Braid Creative

define your creative process

Do you have a creative process you follow? Are you taking the same steps every time? Are you showing your client? Are you letting them truly be a collaborative part of the process? Are you actually sticking to your method when you’re all alone trying to figure out this design or deliverable or recommendation... “for reals?” Or are your steps just empty bullets on your website? Are these questions making you squirm just a little?

We aren’t trying to process-shame you! We just get really passionate about this.

Creating a process for ourselves—our Braid Method, in fact—is how we were able to go from designers/writers for hire, to branding experts in lightening fast speed. Our first three months of business was taking on any client who would pay the bills, for any project we could write, design or brand. By the end of our first nine months of business, we were only working with dream clients (creative entrepreneurs working for themselves) who hired us for our specific branding process, not the whole kitchen sink or other one-off projects that we don’t specialize in.

Now four years later we look back and ask: how would we ever have developed our ecourse, or shared our ebooks or email series, or continued to get hired by so many creatives from around the country and world (we’re from the midwest you guys) if we didn’t actually use the creative tools and steps we had already taken ten, then twenty, then fifty, and now hundred times and counting for our own clients?

Even if you don’t want to go quite as far as defining this all-encompassing creative process, wouldn’t it just be nice to feel more in control of your client projects? Wouldn’t it be a relief to be able to walk someone through your steps and what they get at the end with confidence, so you didn’t have to sell so hard? But most of all, wouldn’t it be so cool if instead of wondering where the next creative idea was coming from as you sit in front of that blank page on the computer or at your drafting table, you would know that your process would not fail you and the answer would emerge?

establishing a creative process

If a process feels empty or clinical to you, it may be because that’s how you’re thinking of it. It’s not an assembly line. But if you aren’t following any sort of framework at all, then we’re going to ask you “why, oh why, are you recreating the wheel every time, for every client?”

Your reasons for not following set creative steps might be:
“Every client is unique!”
“Each challenge requires a custom solution!”
“Because that’s what creatives DO, we create something new and fresh!"

All these answers are true. And no, you don’t need a clinical or assembly-line style process. But you do need an approach, and a framework you always follow:
“Yes, the client is unique, but you are that gentle but firm guide, who has been here before.”
“Every new challenge should not feel like starting over from scratch. You are a specialist.”
“New and fresh, is not created from nothing. You have a process. Even if you don’t know it.”

defining steps in the creative process

Being a working creative doesn’t mean that you should be winging it every time on pure creative gusto alone (because underneath that gusto is every creative’s fear the client won’t like the finished product—or worse—you won’t like it either, that you’re all out of creative juice, and you might as well just close up shop). It also doesn’t mean you should be creating at the whim of the client, which is a slippery slope to having lots of little bosses instead of feeling like an intuitive, listening, and collaborative creative guide who is leading your client down a path together (sure, with some course correction along the way) – but a path you know will create the best, most authentic, most loved outcome for you and your client.

A creative process is like a path that you created over time, starting when it wasn’t a path at all, but just the wildness of all the uncertain directions you could take, and you were sweating and scared and getting lost and looping back on yourself. You got there, it was exciting, but it was hard. Now the path is still wild and mysterious, and winding, but there it is, those worn steps that you’ve taken that you know will get you to the swimming hole, the waterfall, the mysterious cave, the good stuff at the end.

“I’m convinced! I want to shore up my process!” you say. Then try this: We got so passionate and up on our soapbox in this post, we didn’t really share any how-to’s. That’s because this would be one seriously long post if we did. But we’re created this instruction manual already — The Braid Method Branding ECourse. If you love being “asked the tough questions that you didn’t even know you needed asking” (a favorite quote a designer from Phoenix, AZ taking the course shared with us) then check it out!

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to supporting themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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Braid Creative & Consulting is branding and business visioning for creative entrepreneurs. The Braid Blog is where we share weekly insights and resources for creatives.

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